nec·​rop·​sy | \ ˈne-ˌkräp-sē How to pronounce necropsy (audio) \
plural necropsies

Definition of necropsy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: autopsy sense 1 especially : an autopsy performed on an animal


necropsied; necropsying

Definition of necropsy (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to perform an autopsy on

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Human autopsies are generally performed either to determine the cause of death or to observe the deadly effects of a disease for research or education purposes. Autopsies may be necessary when tracking an epidemic; they're also performed to discover whether a death might actually have resulted from murder, and if so, what evidence it might reveal that could help catch the murderer. Animal necropsies are actually more common than human autopsies, since a farmer with livestock is always concerned that whatever killed one animal not pose a threat to the others.

Examples of necropsy in a Sentence

Noun a necropsy failed to definitively establish a cause of death
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun McCarty's family has been notified, Smith added, and an autopsy as well as a necropsy on the dog will be performed. Mary Ramsey, The Courier-Journal, 28 Sep. 2021 Final necropsy results will be forthcoming in the upcoming months. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 27 Sep. 2021 Final necropsy results will be forthcoming in the upcoming months. Steven Martinez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 25 Sep. 2021 The zoo's veterinary staff and the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine pathology team are conducting a necropsy, which could take up to 30 days, to determine Burreaux' cause of death, officials said. Naledi Ushe,, 10 Sep. 2021 Autopsies on the family and a necropsy on the dog were inconclusive while toxicology results remain pending. Cheri Mossburg, CNN, 1 Sep. 2021 That's the consensus of a forensic necropsy, or animal autopsy, on the body of a female bear found over Labor Day weekend, according to David Laskin, a Parks Canada wildlife ecologist. Asha C. Gilbert, USA TODAY, 21 Sep. 2021 According to the affidavit, Dr. Virginia Sayre of Animal Control performed a necropsy, which found the iguana had a lacerated liver, fractured pelvis, blood in its mouth, blood in its abdomen and a lacerated tongue. Amir Vera And Jamiel Lynch, CNN, 2 June 2021 That’s where veterinary pathologists — like Dr. Kathy Burek, who performed the necropsy on the beluga found south of Anchorage — come in. Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News, 27 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'necropsy.' 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 necropsy


circa 1842, in the meaning defined above


1927, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for necropsy


necr- + -opsy (in autopsy), probably after French nécropsie


derivative of necropsy entry 1

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The first known use of necropsy was circa 1842

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Last Updated

5 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Necropsy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for necropsy


nec·​rop·​sy | \ ˈnek-ˌräp-sē How to pronounce necropsy (audio) \
plural necropsies

Medical Definition of necropsy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: autopsy especially : an autopsy performed on an animal


transitive verb
necropsied; necropsying

Medical Definition of necropsy (Entry 2 of 2)

: to perform an autopsy especially on an animal

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