postmortem

adjective
post·mor·tem | \ ˌpōs(t)-ˈmȯr-təm \

Definition of postmortem 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : done, occurring, or collected after death postmortem tissue specimens

2 : following the event

postmortem

noun

Definition of postmortem (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Synonyms for postmortem

Synonyms: Adjective

posthumous

Synonyms: Noun

autopsy, necropsy, postmortem examination

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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.

Examples of postmortem in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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, "Feeding the gods: Hundreds of skulls reveal massive scale of human sacrifice in Aztec capital," 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, "Major finding in human anatomy has implications for many brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s," 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, "When scientists saw the mouse heads glowing, they knew the discovery was big," 21 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But since authorities never ordered postmortems, the causes of death can’t be known for certain. Parth M.n., latimes.com, "When an Indian hospital was running out of oxygen, these doctors tried to help. So why were they sent to jail?," 29 June 2018 Single: Ovechkin has been the victim of simplistic postmortems throughout his career, taking the blame each spring Washington has come up short, so if the Capitals win it all there’s no doubt who deserves to take the majority of the credit. The Si Staff, SI.com, "NHL Mid-Playoffs Roundtable: Biggest Surprise, Conn Smythe Predictions, More," 11 May 2018 Pillow immediately noticed that there was no postmortem report from the medical examiner's office in the file, a standard document investigators must have in homicide investigations. Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com, "Cleveland homicide detective didn't investigate fatal shooting for two years after DNA match," 20 Sep. 2017 Now, archaeologists are beginning to study the skulls in detail, hoping to learn more about Mexica rituals and the postmortem treatment of the bodies of the sacrificed. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "Feeding the gods: Hundreds of skulls reveal massive scale of human sacrifice in Aztec capital," 21 June 2018 Most grief behaviors, 75 percent, were recorded in females mourning their calves, while postmortem attention from males was very rare. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Study Suggests Dolphins and Some Whales Grieve Their Dead," 20 June 2018 Concern around the issue has only grown now that more than 100 former NFL players have received a postmortem diagnosis of CTE, and new research is finding that youth football may be a risk factor for CTE down the line. Brian Resnick, Vox, "What a lifetime of playing football can do to the human brain," 30 Apr. 2018 Investigators were working to identify the body and a postmortem was being conducted to determine the cause of death. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Mummified body found in hoarder's home a year after his death," 31 May 2018 In Sacramento’s postmortem call, Amazon officials were complimentary and didn’t go into too much detail, said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council. Laura Stevens, WSJ, "‘Hi, It’s Amazon Calling. Here’s What We Don’t Like in Your City’," 2 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of postmortem

Adjective

1824, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1838, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for postmortem

Adjective

Latin post mortem after death

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The first known use of postmortem was in 1824

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More Definitions for postmortem

postmortem

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of postmortem

 (Entry 1 of 2)

medical : happening after death

postmortem

noun

English Language Learners Definition of postmortem (Entry 2 of 2)

medical : an examination of a dead body to find out the cause of death

: a discussion or analysis of something (such as an event) after it has ended

postmortem

adjective
post·mor·tem | \ (ˈ)pōst-ˈmȯrt-əm \

Medical Definition of postmortem 

(Entry 1 of 3)

: done, occurring, or collected after death postmortem tissue specimens

postmortem

noun

Medical Definition of postmortem (Entry 2 of 3)

post-mortem

adverb
post-mor·tem

Medical Definition of post-mortem (Entry 3 of 3)

: after death seven cases examined post-mortem

post mortem

adjective
post mor·tem | \ ˌpōst-ˈmȯr-təm \

Legal Definition of post mortem 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: done, occurring, or collected after death

post mortem

noun

Legal Definition of post mortem (Entry 2 of 2)

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More from Merriam-Webster on postmortem

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for postmortem

Spanish Central: Translation of postmortem

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about postmortem

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