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[aw-top-see, aw-tuh p-] /ˈɔ tɒp si, ˈɔ təp-/
noun, plural autopsies.
inspection and dissection of a body after death, as for determination of the cause of death; postmortem examination.
an analysis of something after it has been done or made.
verb (used with object), autopsied, autopsying.
to perform an autopsy on.
Origin of autopsy
1645-55; (< Middle French autopsie) < Greek autopsía a seeing with one's own eyes, equivalent to aut- aut- + óps(is) -opsis + -ia -y3
Related forms
autopsist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for autopsy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Much as he disliked the necessity, it was incumbent on him to perform an autopsy.

    The Woman from Outside Hulbert Footner
  • There was nothing discovered at the autopsy to account for the death.

    A Master of Mysteries L. T. Meade
  • At autopsy at San Lazaro morgue, the same day, bubonic plague was found to be present and the cause of her death.

    Plague Thomas Wright Jackson
  • There are different ways of beginning an autopsy such as this.

  • Sometimes his patients were dead when he reached them, and all his entreaties for an autopsy were in vain with the relatives.

British Dictionary definitions for autopsy


/ˈɔːtəpsɪ; ɔːˈtɒp-/
noun (pl) -sies
Also called necropsy, postmortem examination. dissection and examination of a dead body to determine the cause of death
an eyewitness observation
any critical analysis
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin autopsia, from Greek: seeing with one's own eyes, from auto- + opsis sight
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for autopsy

1650s, "an eye-witnessing," from Modern Latin autopsia, from Greek autopsia "a seeing with one's own eyes," from autos- "self" (see auto-) + opsis "a sight" (see eye (n.)). Sense of "dissection of a body to determine cause of death" is first recorded 1670s, probably from the same sense in French autopsie (1570s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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autopsy in Medicine

autopsy au·top·sy (ô'tŏp'sē, ô'təp-)
An examination of a cadaver in order to determine the cause of death or to study pathologic changes. Also called necropsy, postmortem, postmortem examination.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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autopsy in Science
A medical examination of a dead body to determine the cause of death or to study pathologic changes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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