body snatcher


: one who steals corpses from graves

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Burke was an infamous body snatcher who, with William Hare, killed 16 people in 1828 and sold the corpses to a Scottish anatomist named Robert Knox, who used them for dissection during his lectures. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 27 Dec. 2020 There is a new performance every Friday for the coming weeks, including depictions of Cincinnati body snatcher, Mary Cunningham as well as First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Paul Daugherty,, 20 Feb. 2020

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

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1812, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of body snatcher was circa 1812

Dictionary Entries Near body snatcher

Cite this Entry

“Body snatcher.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Medical Definition

body snatcher

body snatch·​er -ˈsnach-ər How to pronounce body snatcher (audio)
: one especially in former times who illegally removed usually recently interred corpses from graves for medical dissection or for sale for this purpose
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Love It or Hate It

  • heart-fire
  • When asked about her blind date, Carol spoke for hours with vitriol.
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?