Definition of postmortem in English:


Syllabification: post·mor·tem
Pronunciation: /pōstˈmôrtəm


(also postmortem examination)
  • 1An examination of a dead body to determine the cause of death.
    More example sentences
    • He insisted that following his death his post-mortem should be performed in front of his own medical staff and published in the local weekly journal.
    • People can object, but if the coroner considers that any delay may limit the ability to determine the cause of death, then the post-mortem will go ahead.
    • The post-mortem revealed that death was due to powerful electric shock, not because of burns.
  • 1.1An analysis or discussion of an event held soon after it has occurred, especially in order to determine why it was a failure: an election postmortem on why the party lost
    More example sentences
    • And with everyone back safely from the first run of the event, the post-mortems continue.
    • His performance quickly became the subject of ridicule in media post-mortems of the event.
    • The party will hold its post-mortem on the election and the loss of support in its traditional heartlands.
    analysis, evaluation, assessment, appraisal, examination, review


[attributive] Back to top  
  • 1Of or relating to a postmortem: a postmortem report
    More example sentences
    • The minister said the first report would deal with post-mortem issues in paediatric hospitals.
    • A post-mortem report records that she died from pulmonary barotrauma, which causes air bubbles to circulate in the arterial system.
    • A post-mortem study of the animals showed a robust growth of neurons and an increase in neurotransmitters in the spinal cords of rats that received the transplanted neuronal cells.
  • 1.1Happening after death: postmortem changes in his body [as adverb]: assessment of morphology in nerves taken postmortem
    More example sentences
    • A third controversy concerns attempts to show that even if the dead cannot be harmed, the harm thesis is correct, since death, and some post-mortem events, harm the living.
    • On the other hand it is often difficult to tell whether the chemical and structural changes observed during the various types of cell death are pre- or post-mortem events.
    • Second, the tissues that have been through programmed senescence and death, instead of disappearing through post-mortem decay, persist as mummified corpses - namely as wood.


mid 18th century: from Latin, literally 'after death'.

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