from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The scientific study of the nature of disease and its causes, processes, development, and consequences.
  • noun The anatomic or functional manifestations of a disease.
  • noun A departure or deviation from a normal condition.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The science of diseases; the sum of scientific knowledge concerning disease, its origin, its various physiological and anatomical features, and its causative relations.
  • noun The totality of the morbid conditions and processes in a disease.
  • noun A discourse on disease.
  • noun The science of the feelings, passions, and emotions.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Med.) The science which treats of diseases, their nature, causes, progress, symptoms, etc.
  • noun (Med.) The condition of an organ, tissue, or fluid produced by disease.
  • noun a theory that gives prominence to the vital action of cells in the healthy and diseased functions of the body.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun medicine The branch of medicine concerned with the study of the nature of disease and its causes, processes, development, and consequences.
  • noun Any deviation from a healthy or normal condition; abnormality.

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

  • noun the branch of medical science that studies the causes and nature and effects of diseases
  • noun any deviation from a healthy or normal condition


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek πάθος (pathos, "suffering") and -λογία (-logia, "study of").


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  • Pathologists study the causes and effects of human disease and injury: all sorts of disease, all manner of injury, in every part of the human body. . . .

    A forensic pathologist is a specialist in this branch of medicine who investigates sudden, unexpected, or violent deaths by visiting the scene, reviewing medical records, and performing an autopsy—all while collecting evidence that might be used in court. Like a clinical pathologist, she has to recognize what everything in the body looks like, but the forensic pathologist also has to understand how it all works. She has to know how all the things that go wrong with the body can kill you, and all the ways that trying to fix those things might also kill you. . . .

    Forensic pathologists work for either a medical examiner's office or a coroner. The latter is an administrator or law enforcement official (often the sheriff) who investigates untimely deaths in his or her jurisdiction. The coroner hires doctors to perform autopsies, but these doctors usually don't play an active role in the investigation beyond their work in the morgue. A medical examiner is a physician trained specifically in death investigation and autopsy pathology, who performs both the prosection (Latin for "cutting apart") and all other aspects of the official inquiry. The ME is always a doctor and often trains other doctors as well, in a one-year fellowship program that follows four years of residence training in hospital pathology

    Judy Melinek, M.D. & T.J. Mitchell, Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner (New York: Scribner: 2014), pp. 13-14 (emphasis added).

    March 9, 2016