bi·​op·​sy | \ ˈbī-ˌäp-sē How to pronounce biopsy (audio) \
plural biopsies

Definition of biopsy

: the removal and examination of tissue, cells, or fluids from the living body

Other Words from biopsy

biopsy transitive verb

Did you know?

Matter examined in a biopsy is always taken from a living organism. Most biopsies are done by using a needle to extract tissue or fluid, but some may instead require cutting, and others may amount to nothing more than swabbing the inside of the patient's cheek. Biopsies are best known as a means of detecting cancer, but a doctor may also take a biopsy of heart muscle to investigate suspected heart disease, for example, or perform a biopsy on a pregnant woman to test for disorders in the fetus.

Examples of biopsy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web When Baelyn came to the hospital, doctors did a liver biopsy to see the damage from the inside. Brenda Goodman, CNN, 13 May 2022 The obstruction led to chronic pneumonia, and a biopsy showed that pneumonia had damaged my lung. Colleen Murphy,, 24 Nov. 2021 Three weeks of injections later, and a month of low-grade flu-like symptoms, a repeat biopsy showed my legs to be 87 percent slow-twitch. Richard A. Lovett, Outside Online, 1 Sep. 2021 To create the new appendage, doctors conducted a biopsy on the ear of the patient that was impacted and extracted chondrocytes, the cells that create cartilage. Li Cohen, CBS News, 2 June 2022 The lump turned into a scan, and the scan that turned into a biopsy–no–three biopsies. Jessica Boudreaux, SPIN, 2 June 2022 The study ended with a liver biopsy, which detected only inflammation of my portal vein with no evidence of cirrhosis. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 11 May 2022 Another option is for your doctor to take a biopsy of your skin to be examined under the microscope. Fatima Fahs, SELF, 29 Apr. 2022 The doctors in Texas were studying part of the tissue from Peter's lung biopsy., 29 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of biopsy

1887, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for biopsy

International Scientific Vocabulary bi- entry 2 + -opsy (as in autopsy)

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Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Biopsy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for biopsy


bi·​op·​sy | \ ˈbī-ˌäp-sē How to pronounce biopsy (audio) \
plural biopsies

Medical Definition of biopsy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the removal and examination of tissue, cells, or fluids from the living body


transitive verb
biopsied; biopsying

Medical Definition of biopsy (Entry 2 of 2)

: to perform a biopsy on the intestinal polyps were removed and biopsied


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