Definition of autopsy in English:


Pronunciation /ˈôˌtäpsē/ /ˈɔˌtɑpsi/


  • A postmortem examination to discover the cause of death or the extent of disease.

    as modifier ‘an autopsy report’
    • ‘Medical examiners frequently perform autopsies if a death is deemed suspicious or unexplained.’
    • ‘Medical Examiners are pathologists who have special training in death investigation and legal autopsies.’
    • ‘There are two basic kinds of autopsy: the forensic autopsy and the medical autopsy.’
    • ‘To discuss the events at the death scene and closely examine the autopsy report is distressing to the families.’
    • ‘They reviewed the verbal autopsies and determined the cause of death for the study.’
    • ‘All fatal cases have been confirmed by medical records, autopsy report, or death certificate.’
    • ‘They visit scenes of death and attend autopsies, take witness statements and liaise between traumatised relatives, police, solicitors and doctors.’
    • ‘He rejected speculation that a way of killing that could not be detected in an autopsy had already been discovered.’
    • ‘Police have not released the cause of death although an autopsy was completed Wednesday.’
    • ‘The autopsy found that death was due to cerebral and pulmonary oedema.’
    • ‘But there are virtually no autopsies of these deaths.’
    • ‘This was nearly two months after the autopsies ruled the deaths to be ‘homicides’.’
    • ‘Medical examiners spent the night doing autopsies to determine if the deaths were criminal or accidental.’
    • ‘The autopsy has contributed to the discovery of new or unrecognized diseases and will continue to do so.’
    • ‘An autopsy into his death revealed the cyclist suffered a heart attack following severe swelling of the heart and brain.’
    • ‘A spokesman for the Foreign Office said it was thought his death was from natural causes and an autopsy would be carried out.’
    • ‘The county coroner carried out an autopsy and his verdict on the cause of death was given in January of this year.’
    • ‘All autopsies were carried out by pathologists at the Health Sciences Authority.’
    • ‘About 18% of autopsies reveal potentially treatable contributing factors to death.’
    • ‘He developed his life-long dedication to tuberculosis while doing autopsies as a medical student.’
    post-mortem, PM, necropsy
    View synonyms

transitive verbautopsies, autopsying, autopsied

[with object]
  • Perform a postmortem examination on (a body or organ)

    as adjective autopsied ‘an autopsied brain’
    • ‘These bodies were autopsied secretly.’
    • ‘When his body was autopsied he had several broken bones and possible internal injuries.’
    • ‘The central idea of his work came to him as he autopsied the body of a notorious Italian criminal.’
    • ‘Attempts were made to surreptitiously dispose of the corpse, and some evidence was destroyed - but the body was eventually autopsied, and the death labelled a homicide.’
    • ‘The patients had died and were autopsied at the Medical Center of Louisiana in New Orleans.’
    • ‘After his death, they autopsied his brain to find exactly what part of the brain had been damaged.’
    • ‘All patients were autopsied at a tertiary care medical center during the years 1985-1997.’
    • ‘The clinical diagnosis of this syndrome is challenging, and the diagnosis is limited to patients who have been autopsied.’
    • ‘Like all his colleagues, he autopsied every patient who died on his ward.’
    • ‘After external inspection, each animal was autopsied.’
    • ‘Larvae that died in this week were held for at least two additional days to allow for the emergence of parasitoids, and then were autopsied under a light microscope to check for pathogens.’
    • ‘Only about 66% of suspected cases are autopsied each year.’
    • ‘And when you're murdered in Dallas County, the law is that you're autopsied in Dallas County.’
    • ‘But maybe if they were properly autopsied, we might learn that environmental pollutants did them in.’
    • ‘At autopsy the adrenal glands often show hemorrhagic necrosis, an example of which is seen here.’
    • ‘The researchers autopsied 302 people who had died suddenly of heart attacks, auto accidents, or other misfortunes.’


Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘personal observation’): from French autopsie or modern Latin autopsia, from Greek, from autoptēs ‘eyewitness’, from autos ‘self’ + optos ‘seen’.



/ˈôˌtäpsē/ /ˈɔˌtɑpsi/