au·top·sy | \ ˈȯ-ˌtäp-sē , 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 for Bolden is scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Rosemary Sobol,, "1 dead, 1 wounded in Waukegan shooting; 15-year-old boy charged," 14 July 2018 An autopsy will be conducted by the GBI Crime Lab to determine the cause of death. Raisa Habersham, ajc, "Cherokee County inmate dies hours after arrest," 13 July 2018 Chase said the victims' names will be released after autopsies being conducted by the medical examiner's office in Rochester are completed. Fox News, "Police: Man recently charged with rape killed 2, wounded 1," 12 July 2018 An autopsy will be conducted by the Jefferson County Coroner to determine the exact cause of death. Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal, "Woman killed in hit and run Tuesday morning in east Louisville," 10 July 2018 An autopsy has been scheduled for the victim, and the suspect is currently at Oakland County Jail in Pontiac. Deasia Paige, Detroit Free Press, "Police: Pontiac teen dies in apparent accidental shooting," 9 July 2018 An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, Kane County Coroner Rob Russell said, and no foul play is suspected so far. Megan Jones, Aurora Beacon-News, "Man pronounced dead after falling into Fox River in North Aurora," 29 May 2018 Milwaukee police are investigating and an autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday. Diana Dombrowski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Man shot and killed near Kern Park in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood," 28 May 2018 An autopsy is scheduled for Saturday, allowing Robinson's relatives an opportunity to have their own physician present, a standard policy for in-custody deaths, according to Jefferson Parish Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich. Laura Mcknight,, "'This family needs, deserves and wants answers': Vigil held for Keeven Robinson," 11 May 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

25 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for autopsy

The first known use of autopsy was in 1678

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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 , ˈȯt-əp- \
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- \
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

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characteristic trappings or dress

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