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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. See autopsy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The pathological dissection of a corpse; particularly to determine cause of death. Applicable to the examination of any life form.
  • v. The act of performing a necropsy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A post-mortem examination or inspection; an autopsy. See autopsy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as necroscopy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an examination and dissection of a dead body to determine cause of death or the changes produced by disease


From the Ancient Greek νεκρός (nekros, "dead") and όψις (opsis, "eye"). (Wiktionary)


  • The only difference between a necropsy and an autopsy is that the word necropsy is more usually applied to animals.


  • It took me YEARS to forget the smell of the dolphin necropsy I once observed! (

    mrissa: That stinks.

  • I've spent some time today contemplating why it is that what I always thought of as an autopsy is called a necropsy in all of my current working environments.

    scorpi07 Diary Entry

  • But the results of an animal autopsy on each dog, called a necropsy, were inconclusive, said American spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan. Music briefs

  • An autopsy on the whale, known as a necropsy, would have to be done to narrow down the cause of death, Anna Hall said Monday, "but I would think that based on the wounds that I saw, it was killer-whale predation." Top Stories

  • An animal autopsy, called a necropsy, was performed on the bison in the field with the help of two veterinarians.

    Columnist: Keith Groller

  • When an animal is dead, we perform a necropsy, which is an animal autopsy. News of the Underwater World

  • A necropsy is the term for a post-mortem examination performed on an animal or inanimate object.

    Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium - Recent changes [en]

  • A necropsy is a less romantic way of dealing with an elephant's death, but it does, at least, contribute to scientific knowledge of the physiology of the species, which is another kind of monument.


  • A necropsy is the right thing to do, but will it be worth the expense?



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  • It is not exactly a synonym for autopsy. Autopsy comes from the greek, auton, meaning "self". Necropsy is properly applied to animals, autopsy to humans. Confusion in this regard vexes me greatly.

    September 23, 2008

  • Stedman's Concise Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions lists it as a synonym for autopsy.

    August 3, 2008

  • "On January 2, a team of scientists ... began a necropsy—measuring and photographing the carcass and collecting blood and tissue samples that would later help them determine what the whale had been suffering from."
    --Nathaniel Philbrick, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, 232

    May 1, 2008