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From French anatomie, from Latin anatomia, from Ancient Greek *ἀνατομία (*anatomía), from ἀνατομή (anatomḗ, dissection), from ἀνά (aná, up) + τέμνω (témnō, I cut, incise) (surface analysis ana- +‎ -tomy), literally “cut up”.


  • (file)
  • IPA(key): /əˈnætəmi/


anatomy (countable and uncountable, plural anatomies)

  1. The art of studying the different parts of any organized body, to discover their situation, structure, and economy; dissection.
  2. The science that deals with the form and structure of organic bodies; anatomical structure or organization.
    • John Dryden
      Let the muscles be well inserted and bound together, according to the knowledge of them which is given us by anatomy.
    Animal anatomy is also called zootomy; vegetable anatomy, phytotomy; and human anatomy, anthropotomy.
  3. A treatise or book on anatomy.
  4. The act of dividing anything, corporeal or intellectual, for the purpose of examining its parts; analysis.
    the anatomy of a discourse
    Burton's famous treatise, "The Anatomy of Melancholy"
  5. (colloquial) The form of an individual.
    I went to the Venice beach body-building competition and noticed the competitor from Athens, and let me tell you, that's what I call classic Greek anatomy.
  6. (archaic) A skeleton, or dead body.
  7. The physical or functional organization of an organism, or part of it.
    • 2013 August 3, “The machine of a new soul”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8847:
      The yawning gap in neuroscientists’ understanding of their topic is in the intermediate scale of the brain’s anatomy. Science has a passable knowledge of how individual nerve cells, known as neurons, work. It also knows which visible lobes and ganglia of the brain do what. But how the neurons are organised in these lobes and ganglia remains obscure.

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