Medical Definition of Forensic

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Forensic: Dealing with the application of scientific knowledge to legal problems and legal proceedings as, for example, in forensic anthropology, forensic dentistry, forensic experts, forensic medicine (legal medicine), forensic pathology, forensic science, etc.

The word "forensic" has an unusual history. It comes from the Latin word "forensis" pertaining to a forum. In ancient Rome the forum was a market place where people gathered, not just to buy things, but also to conduct all kinds of business, including that of public affairs. The meaning of "forensic" later came to be restricted to refer to the courts of law. The word entered English usage in 1659.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018