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 Police said the body was found about 12:30 p.m. in the back seat of the vehicle, but did not immediately identify the woman or the manner of death pending an autopsy. Jeff Truesdell,, "Calif. Mom of 2 Who Vanished Last Week Is Found Dead In Her Car: 'Somebody Knows Something'," 18 Sep. 2020 The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office is scheduled to conduct an autopsy on Friday. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee man in custody after woman shot and killed on north side; police investigating separate homicide on north side," 10 Sep. 2020 By the mid-1900s, however, the cadaver lab was a rite of passage for first-year medical students, and half of all hospital deaths received an autopsy. Carrie Arnold, National Geographic, "Private autopsies are on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic," 10 Sep. 2020 The medical examiner’s office on Tuesday was expected to perform an autopsy. Katherine Rosenberg-douglas,, "8-year-old girl killed: Chicago police release photos of vehicle tied to slaying," 8 Sep. 2020 The cause and manner of death will be determined by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, which will conduct an autopsy. Connor Sheets |, al, "Baldwin County authorities investigating body found off I-10," 7 Sep. 2020 Chee's body will undergo an autopsy at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas. Li Cohen, CBS News, "Another Fort Hood soldier has died, five days after he collapsed following physical training," 4 Sep. 2020 The county Medical Examiner’s Office will perform an autopsy to confirm the man’s identity and determine the manner of death. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Body found 2 days after man reported missing from Lake Morena campground," 3 Sep. 2020 Smelser was charged with second-degree murder following an autopsy that revealed that Valenzuela had died from asphyxial injuries. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "New Mexico city bans chokeholds as part of $6.5M settlement following death of resident," 20 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for autopsy

Time Traveler

The first known use of autopsy was in 1678

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Statistics for autopsy

Last Updated

24 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Autopsy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for autopsy


How to pronounce autopsy (audio)

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

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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