au·​top·​sy | \ ˈȯ-ˌtäp-sē How to pronounce autopsy (audio) , ˈȯ-təp-\
plural autopsies

Definition of autopsy

1 : an examination of a body after death to determine the cause of death or the character and extent of changes produced by disease

called also necropsy

2 : a critical examination, evaluation, or assessment of someone or something past

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Other Words from autopsy

autopsy transitive verb

Examples of autopsy in a Sentence

The coroner performed an autopsy on the murder victim's body. the autopsy revealed an advanced stage of cancer

Recent Examples on the Web

An autopsy found that Bradford was shot three times: once in back of the head, once in his neck and once in his lower back, according to the report. Kim Chandler, The Seattle Times, "Officer won’t face charges in Alabama mall shooting," 5 Feb. 2019 The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was assisting and its medical examiner’s office said an autopsy would be conducted Monday, a day before the Yellow Jackets are scheduled to hold their first practice of spring. Paul Newberry, The Seattle Times, "Georgia Tech announces death of DT Brandon Adams," 24 Mar. 2019 Of course, the post-flight analysis will be like a server autopsy, and crucial to finding exactly what weaknesses the COTS servers may develop during long-duration spaceflight. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Saga of a Stranded Space Station Supercomputer," 18 Mar. 2019 Immediately following the singer's passing, his family requested a private autopsy to determine the cause of death. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Inside the Enduring Mysteries of Elvis Presley's Death," 16 Mar. 2019 Medical staff at the hospital were unable to revive him, and the boy was pronounced dead at 11:48 p.m. An autopsy is pending. Dan Frosch, WSJ, "Homeland Security Steps Up Medical Services for Migrants After Two Children Die," 26 Dec. 2018 An autopsy determined that Duncan, of the 500 block of North St. Louis Avenue in East Garfield Park, died of multiple injures from an assault and her death was ruled a homicide, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. Chicago Tribune,, "Woman found slain along river in Goose Island identified," 10 July 2018 An autopsy performed by the State Medical Examiner Office determined he was mauled by a brown bear. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Trail has gone cold’: Bear traps no longer set in wake of Eagle River maulings," 2 July 2018 An autopsy determined that Walker died of smoke inhalation, the affidavit states. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Man charged with murder of grandmother, 79, in Gary house fire," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'autopsy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of autopsy

1678, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for autopsy

Greek autopsia act of seeing with one's own eyes, from aut- + opsis sight, appearance — more at optic

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Statistics for autopsy

Last Updated

24 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for autopsy

The first known use of autopsy was in 1678

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More Definitions for autopsy



English Language Learners Definition of autopsy

: an examination of a dead body to find out the cause of death


au·​top·​sy | \ ˈȯ-ˌtäp-sē How to pronounce autopsy (audio) , ˈȯt-əp- How to pronounce autopsy (audio) \
plural autopsies

Medical Definition of autopsy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an examination of the body after death usually with such dissection as will expose the vital organs for determining the cause of death or the character and extent of changes produced by disease

called also necropsy, postmortem, postmortem examination


transitive verb
autopsied; autopsying

Medical Definition of autopsy (Entry 2 of 2)

: to perform an autopsy on


au·​top·​sy | \ ˈȯ-ˌtäp-sē, -təp- How to pronounce autopsy (audio) \
plural autopsies

Legal Definition of autopsy

: an examination of a body after death usually involving dissection especially to determine the cause of death

called also post mortem, post mortem examination

Other Words from autopsy

autopsy transitive verb

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Comments on autopsy

What made you want to look up autopsy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something valued as if it were money

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