fo·​ren·​sic | \ fə-ˈren(t)-sik How to pronounce forensic (audio) , -ˈren-zik How to pronounce forensic (audio) \

Definition of forensic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : belonging to, used in, or suitable to courts of judicature or to public discussion and debate a lawyer's forensic skills
2 : argumentative, rhetorical forensic eloquence
3 : relating to or dealing with the application of scientific knowledge to legal problems forensic medicine forensic science forensic pathologist forensic experts



Definition of forensic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an argumentative exercise
2 forensics plural in form but singular or plural in construction : the art or study of argumentative discourse
3 forensics plural in form but singular or plural in construction : the application of scientific knowledge to legal problems especially : scientific analysis of physical evidence (as from a crime scene)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from forensic


forensically \ fə-​ˈren(t)-​si-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce forensically (audio) , -​ˈren-​zi-​ \ adverb

Did You Know?

The noun forensic, meaning “an argumentative exercise” derives from the adjective forensic, whose earliest meaning in English is “belonging to, used in, or suitable to courts or to public discussion and debate.” The English word was derived from a Latin word forensic meaning “of the market place or form, public,” which in turn comes from the Latin word forum, meaning “market place, forum.”

Examples of forensic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Mike Doyle, an attorney for Nicholas’s family, said a forensic investigator hired by both families found that the officer who fired the shot fatal to Nicholas would have been unable to see her at the time and blindly fired the shot through a wall. Washington Post, "Since 2015, police have fatally shot nearly 250 women. Like Taylor, 89 of them were killed at homes or residences where they sometimes stayed.," 4 Sep. 2020 The board of trustees has hired a forensic firm to investigate the university’s operations during his tenure. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 3 Sep. 2020 But forensic scientists are coming in and working socially distant from each other to process evidence. Alison Bowen,, "After pressure to clear languishing DNA evidence like rape kits, Illinois reduces backlog by 31%," 2 Sep. 2020 Police seized Armstrong’s computer and sent it to a Maryland State Police lab for forensic examination. James Whitlow,, "Harford man charged in connection to stash of child pornography on work computer, police say," 1 Sep. 2020 His research interests include comparative and evolutionary genomics, mobile element biology, computational biology and forensic genomics., "New Orleans, Baton Rouge area People in Business for Aug. 30, 2020," 31 Aug. 2020 The forensic pathologist said a hole in the right side of Rininger's heart – which the prosecution had presented as a stab would – was likely caused by medical treatment involving a needle. Kevin Grasha, The Enquirer, "Man whose murder conviction was thrown out by 6th Circuit to be released from prison," 21 Aug. 2020 As the acting chief forensic pathologist for Alameda County and a vocal critic of the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, the San Francisco resident had reached her breaking point in June. Matthias Gafni,, "Here’s what made a Bay Area medical examiner move her family from SF to New Zealand," 15 Aug. 2020 Some people reject the notion Epstein ended his life, including Dr. Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist who maintains that Epstein's death was murder. Chris Harris,, "Jeffrey Epstein Died in Prison 1 Year Ago Today: Here's Where the Case Stands Now," 10 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The new method could beef up the field of hair forensics, which has a checkered history. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Scientists can now identify someone from a single strand of hair," 21 Nov. 2019 Norcross also claimed he was deprived of a fair trial because of perjured testimony by a ballistics expert with more than 30 year of experience working with the Baltimore police crime lab and Maryland State Police forensics division. Washington Post, "Federal judge rejects latest appeal from murder convict," 31 Mar. 2020 Navy officials speaking at a Pentagon press briefing Tuesday would not detail the forensics conducted after the case was reported, other than to say lessons are being learned and new best practices are being put into place. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Three sailors test positive for coronavirus in first cases on a Navy ship at sea," 24 Mar. 2020 Students will gain a greater understanding of biology, forensics, and epidemiology, and artists intrigued by fractal geometry can find new shapes to inform their designs. Popular Science, "Microscopes for students and hobbyists who want to continue exploring the world around them," 15 Mar. 2020 Sloppy forensics, corrupt officers and haphazard investigations left few cases solved. Paulina Villegas, New York Times, "He Was One of Mexico’s Deadliest Assassins. Then He Turned on His Cartel.," 14 Dec. 2019 DeSouza was arrested after authorities matched a fingerprint from the state police forensics lab with those obtained from Canadian police on file for Allan Mann. David Owens,, "Canadian man suspected of kidnapping son in 1987 and living under assumed name in Vernon pleads guilty to federal charge, faces extradition to Canada," 22 Aug. 2019 GrayKey is a forensics tool used by law enforcement to access locked and encrypted iPhones. Brian Barrett, Wired, "Security News This Week: Ransomware Groups Promise Not to Hit Hospitals Amid Pandemic," 21 Mar. 2020 Iraqi security forces captured a truck modified to carry rocket launchers, and forensics have determined from where the rockets were launched, Milley added. Eric Schmittand Thomas Gibbons-neffluck,, "Pentagon awaiting decision from Trump on how to respond to deadly rocket attack in Iraq," 12 Mar. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of forensic


1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1814, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for forensic

Adjective and Noun

Latin forensis public, forensic, from forum forum

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about forensic

Time Traveler for forensic

Time Traveler

The first known use of forensic was in 1659

See more words from the same year

Statistics for forensic

Last Updated

7 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Forensic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for forensic


How to pronounce forensic (audio) How to pronounce forensic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of forensic

: relating to the use of scientific knowledge or methods in solving crimes
somewhat formal : relating to, used in, or suitable to a court of law


fo·​ren·​sic | \ fə-ˈren(t)-sik How to pronounce forensic (audio) , -ˈren-zik How to pronounce forensic (audio) \

Medical Definition of forensic

: relating to or dealing with the application of scientific knowledge to legal problems especially in regard to criminal evidence a forensic pathologist forensic experts … a forensic technique of DNA analysis allows for the determination of whether a subject with a specific genetic profile has contributed to aggregate genomic data.— Kathy L. Hudson, The New England Journal of Medicine, 15 Sept. 2011


fo·​ren·​sic | \ fə-ˈren-sik, -zik How to pronounce forensic (audio) \

Legal Definition of forensic

1 : belonging to, used in, or suitable to the courts or to public discussion and debate
2 : relating to or dealing with the application of scientific knowledge (as of medicine or linguistics) to legal problems forensic pathology forensic experts

Other Words from forensic

forensically adverb

History and Etymology for forensic

Latin forensis public, forensic, from forum forum

More from Merriam-Webster on forensic

Nglish: Translation of forensic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of forensic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on forensic

What made you want to look up forensic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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