noun (plural autopsies)
- 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.
verb (autopsies, autopsying, autopsied)[with object]
- 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.
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'.
In an autopsy someone seeks to find out how a person died by seeing the body with their own eyes. An early sense of the word was ‘personal observation’, and this is the key to the word's origin. It comes from Greek autoptēs ‘eyewitness’, based on autos ‘self’ and optos ‘seen’, which means that it is related to other English words such as optic (Late Middle English) and optician (late 17th century).
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