postmortem

1 of 2

adjective

post·​mor·​tem ˌpōs(t)-ˈmȯr-təm How to pronounce postmortem (audio)
1
: done, occurring, or collected after death
postmortem tissue specimens
2
: following the event

postmortem

2 of 2

noun

1
2
: an analysis or discussion of an event after it is over

Did you know?

Post mortem is Latin for "after death". In English, postmortem refers to an examination, investigation, or process that takes place after death. A postmortem examination of a body (often simply called a postmortem) is often needed to determine the time and cause of death; the stiffening called rigor mortis is one postmortem change that doctors look at to determine when death occurred. Today we've come to use postmortem to refer to any examination or discussion that takes place after an event.

Example Sentences

Adjective postmortem tests on the brain tissue of people who had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease Noun A postmortem showed that the man had been poisoned. Party leaders are conducting a postmortem of the election to try to find out what went wrong.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Another area ripe for new technology is postmortem facial reconstruction, used for identification purposes, which has traditionally been carried out by putting clay on skulls in a process known as forensic art. Rachel Pannett, WSJ, 30 Sep. 2020 Beer and his colleagues analyzed postmortem brain tissue from 56 patients in southeastern Germany’s state of Bavaria between 1999 and 2019. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, 8 Jan. 2020 Although treatments for these disorders remain elusive, postmortem brain tissue offers a key resource for unlocking possible solutions. Emily Toomey, Smithsonian, 21 Aug. 2019 In addition to studying postmortem tissue, imaging methods like MRIs offer alternative tools for investigating neurological conditions. Emily Toomey, Smithsonian, 21 Aug. 2019 Nearby, the researchers also found skulls apparently stuck together with mortar—remnants of one of the towers flanking the tzompantli, where most skulls once exhibited on its posts ended their postmortem journey. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, 21 June 2018 Last year, Jeff Iliff, a neuroscientist at Oregon Health & Science University, and several colleagues examined postmortem tissue from 79 human brains. The Washington Post, The Denver Post, 21 May 2017 Last year, Jeff Iliff, a neuroscientist at Oregon Health & Science University, and several colleagues examined postmortem tissue from 79 human brains. David Kohn, Washington Post, 21 May 2017
Noun
Among disappointed Republicans, Trump's impact on races has led to a finger-pointing election postmortem, complaints about unelectable candidates with extreme positions. CBS News, 13 Nov. 2022 Officials said impairment is not known at this time and will be determined after conducting a postmortem blood analysis. Ellie Willard, The Arizona Republic, 30 Oct. 2022 And they’re buried with no signs of postmortem modification or cannibalism. Byandrew Curry, science.org, 24 Oct. 2022 The fish had a bruise from a boat strike near its head, but scientists aren’t sure whether that was a fatal blow or a postmortem injury. Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American, 20 Oct. 2022 Part of the now-recurring problem, Hackett said in this week’s postmortem, is streamlining who communicates with him on the headset going forward. Parker Gabriel, USA TODAY, 19 Sep. 2022 Any postmortem has to begin with the freak nature of the pandemic itself, in which governments and societies across the world—not always at the same time—drastically curtailed economic activity as new waves of the virus spread. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, 26 Aug. 2022 Hamza postponed the bail hearing to Sept. 1 due to a technicality with the postmortem report, which was not yet finalized. Mark Guarino, ABC News, 18 Aug. 2022 The Cyber Safety Review Board was originally tasked with conducting a postmortem of the massive SolarWinds breach carried out by Russian hackers, but ultimately pivoted to studying the impact of the Log4j flaw. Nicole Sganga, CBS News, 14 July 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Latin post mortem after death

First Known Use

Adjective

1824, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1838, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of postmortem was in 1824

Dictionary Entries Near postmortem

Cite this Entry

“Postmortem.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/postmortem. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

postmortem 1 of 2

adjective

post·​mor·​tem (ˈ)pōs(t)-ˈmȯrt-əm How to pronounce postmortem (audio)
: done or occurring after death

postmortem

2 of 2

noun

1
2
: an analysis or discussion of an event after it is over

Medical Definition

postmortem 1 of 3

adjective

post·​mor·​tem (ˈ)pōst-ˈmȯrt-əm How to pronounce postmortem (audio)
: done, occurring, or collected after death
postmortem tissue specimens

postmortem

2 of 3

noun

post-mortem

3 of 3

adverb

post-mor·​tem
: after death
seven cases examined post-mortem

Legal Definition

post mortem 1 of 2

adjective

post mor·​tem
ˌpōst-ˈmȯr-təm
: done, occurring, or collected after death

post mortem

2 of 2

noun

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