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See more synonyms for anatomy on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural a·nat·o·mies.
  1. the science dealing with the structure of animals and plants.
  2. the structure of an animal or plant, or of any of its parts.
  3. dissection of all or part of an animal or plant in order to study its structure.
  4. a plant or animal that has been or will be dissected, or a model of such a dissected organism.
  5. a skeleton.
  6. Informal. the human body.
  7. an analysis or minute examination.
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Origin of anatomy

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin anatomia < Greek anatom(ḗ) a cutting up (ana- ana- + tom- cut (variant of tem-) + noun suffix) + -ia -y3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for anatomy

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I had to describe the little ones with the minuteness of anatomy.

  • Its use has practically been superseded by the study of anatomy.

    Albert Durer

    T. Sturge Moore

  • His legs were the only part of his anatomy which seemed to him as long as his nose.

  • As picture teaches the coloring, so sculpture the anatomy of form.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Michael Angelo maintained, that, to an architect, a knowledge of anatomy is essential.


    Ralph Waldo Emerson

British Dictionary definitions for anatomy


noun plural -mies
  1. the science concerned with the physical structure of animals and plants
  2. the physical structure of an animal or plant or any of its parts
  3. a book or treatise on this subject
  4. dissection of an animal or plant
  5. any detailed analysisthe anatomy of a crime
  6. informal the human body
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Word Origin

C14: from Latin anatomia, from Greek anatomē, from anatemnein to cut up, from ana- + temnein to cut
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

Word Origin and History for anatomy


late 14c., "study of the structure of living beings;" c.1400, "anatomical structures," from Old French anatomie, from Late Latin anatomia, from Greek anatomia, from anatome "dissection," from ana- "up" (see ana-) + temnein "to cut" (see tome). "Dissection" (1540s), "mummy" (1580s), and "skeleton" (1590s) were primary senses of this word in Shakespeare's day; meaning "the science of the structure of organized bodies" predominated from 17c. Often mistakenly divided as an atomy or a natomy.

The scyence of the Nathomy is nedefull and necessarye to the Cyrurgyen [1541]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

anatomy in Medicine


  1. The morphological structure of a plant or an animal or of any of its parts.
  2. The science of the shape and structure of organisms and their parts.
  3. Dissection of an animal to study the structure, position, and interrelation of its various parts.
  4. A skeleton.
  5. The human body.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

anatomy in Science


  1. The structure of an organism or any of its parts.
  2. The scientific study of the shape and structure of organisms and their parts.
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Related formsanatomical adjective (ăn′ə-tŏmĭ-kəl)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

anatomy in Culture


The structure of an animal or plant; also, the study of this structure through techniques such as microscopic observation and dissection. (Compare morphology and physiology.)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.