autopsy

noun

au·​top·​sy ˈȯ-ˌtäp-sē How to pronounce autopsy (audio)
ˈȯ-təp-
plural autopsies
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
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 The autopsy for animals, called a necropsy, will determine the whale’s cause of death. Julia Daye, Sacramento Bee, 6 June 2024 An autopsy determined that Koval had bleeding inside the brain. Grethel Aguila, Miami Herald, 30 May 2024 The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office said in 2022 there was no evidence of criminal offense by the police officers involved in Angelo's case based on the autopsy and an analysis of the police encounter with Angelo. Jennifer Vilcarino, ABC News, 29 May 2024 But the level found in his blood was about the same quantity as would be used during general anesthesia, his autopsy showed. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, 22 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for autopsy 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'autopsy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

earlier, "act of seeing with one's own eyes, direct observation," borrowed from New Latin autopsia, borrowed from Greek autopsía, from aut- aut- + -opsia, later variant of -opsis "act of seeing, sight" — more at optic entry 1

Note: Use of the word in English to refer specifically to the examination of a corpse is apparently not known before the nineteenth century. The Oxford English Dictionary, third edition, notes French autopsie in the sense "post-mortem examination" from "1671 or earlier," but gives no source for an attestation. In French the phrase autopsie cadavérique is fairly common after 1800, but does not seem to have been used earlier. In Latin medical texts of the eighteenth century, the phrase autopsia cadaverum "autopsy of cadavers" (with variants) can be found in a number of texts, as the Synopsis universae praxeos medicae, pars prima (Amsterdam, 1765) of the French physician Joseph Lieutaud.

First Known Use

1678, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of autopsy was in 1678

Dictionary Entries Near autopsy

Cite this Entry

“Autopsy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/autopsy. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

autopsy

noun
au·​top·​sy ˈȯ-ˌtäp-sē How to pronounce autopsy (audio)
ˈȯt-əp-
plural autopsies
: an examination of a dead body especially to find out the cause of death
autopsy verb
Etymology

from Greek autopsia "the act of seeing with one's own eyes," from aut- "self" and opsis "sight," from opsesthai "to be going to see" — related to optic

Medical Definition

autopsy

1 of 2 noun
au·​top·​sy ˈȯ-ˌtäp-sē How to pronounce autopsy (audio) ˈȯt-əp- How to pronounce autopsy (audio)
plural autopsies
: 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

autopsy

2 of 2 transitive verb
autopsied; autopsying
: to perform an autopsy on

Legal Definition

autopsy

noun
au·​top·​sy ˈȯ-ˌtäp-sē, -təp- How to pronounce autopsy (audio)
plural autopsies
: an examination of a body after death usually involving dissection especially to determine the cause of death

called also post mortem, post mortem examination

autopsy transitive verb

More from Merriam-Webster on autopsy

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