Listed below are terms which appear in italics throughout the site.
Most words will be quite understandable to the majority of the mature
audience, but for the convenience of those who aren't familiar with
such forensic terms, here they are:
Definition references: Delbridge A et. al. Macquarie Dictionary:
Revised Third Edition. 1997. Macquarie Press. Sydney.
Also, the definition facility in Google
A - B
- C - D
- E - F
- G - H
- I - J - K - L
- M - N
- O - P
- Q - R - S
- T - U
- V - W
- X - Y - Z
Acetone - A colourless, highly flammable chemical compound
(CH3)2CO used as an organic solvent, an ingredient in many lacquer
thinner compounds and adhering liquids; used to remove lacquer adhered
knife-cut stencils and lacquer type blockout from screen fabrics.
Adenine - A purine base, C5H5N5, present in all living cells,
mainly as a subunit of nucleic acids.
Algae - Simple rootless plants that grow in sunlit waters
in relative proportion to the amounts of nutrients available. They
are food for fish and small aquatic animals.
Alias - A name that an entity uses in place of its real
name, usually for the purpose of either anonymity or deception.
Alkali metal - Any of the monovalent metals of group I of
the periodic table (lithium or sodium or potassium or rubidium or
cesium or francium); "the hydroxides of the alkali metals are
Amplitude - Greatness of magnitude, maximum displacement
from the equilibrium of a periodic wave.
Annihilation - The act of destroying something.
Anthropologist - A social scientist who specializes in anthropology
- the study of bones.
Antibodies - A class of proteins (known as immunoglobulins)
formed in the body in response to the presence of antigens (foreign
proteins and other compounds), which bind to the antigen, inactivating
Antigens - Foreign substances in the body that are capable
of causing disease. The presence of antigens in the body triggers
an immune response, usually the production of antibodies. Antigens
may be soluble substances, such as toxins and foreign proteins,
or particulate, such as bacteria and tissue cells; however only
the portion of the protein of polysaccharide molecule known as the
antigenic determinant combines with antibody or a specific receptor
on a lymphocyte.
Arson - The intentional and unlawful burning of a building
or other property.
Arthritis - A medical condition affecting a joint or joints,
causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is a
chronic condition that can result in weakness, loss of mobility,
and eventual destruction and deformity of the joints. Osteoarthritis
(also called degenerative joint disease) usually affects people
after middle age and is characterized by gradual loss of cartilage
of the joints.
Asphyxiation - A medical term for suffocation, which leads
to lack of oxygen in the blood.
Asymmetric - Not similar in size, shape, form or arrangement
of parts on opposite sides of a line, point or plane.
Beryllium Oxide - (BeO) a poisonous ionic chemical substance
used as an electrical insulator.
Bile - A digestive fluid made by the liver and stored in
the gallbladder that helps digest fats.
Biodegradable - Such materials are any organic substances
that can be broken down by microorganisms into simpler, more stable
compounds. Most organic waste such as foods, paper, etc are biodegradable.
Bits - The smallest unit of information used on a computer.
Bits have a single binary value either 0 or 1.
Botanist - One who studies the science of plants.
Bridge - A denture anchored to teeth on either side of missing
Canvas - Strong heavy cloth made from cotton, hemp or flax
used with clothing, bags, paintings and curtains.
Cap - Crownwork: dental appliance consisting of an artificial
crown for a tooth.
Carbon dioxide - A colourless, odourless gas that occurs
naturally in the Earth's atmosphere. Significant quantities are
also emitted into the air by fossil fuel combustion and deforestation.
It is a greenhouse gas of major concern in the study of global warming.
It is estimated that the amount in the air is increasing by 0.27%
Carbon monoxide - A colourless, odourless, very toxic gas
made up of carbon and oxygen, that burns to carbon dioxide with
a blue flame and is formed as a product of the incomplete combustion
Carcinogenic - Cancer causing.
Cartridge case - A cylindrical case of pasteboard, metal
or the like, for holding a complete charge of powder, and often,
also the bullet for a rifle, machine gun or small arm.
Catalyst - A substance that increases the rate of a chemical
reaction, without being consumed or produced by the reaction. Enzymes
are catalysts for many biochemical reactions.
Charge - A quantity of explosive to be set off at one time.
Chloroform - A substance used as an intermediate in the
production of refrigerants, agrochemicals and fluoropolymers, produced
mainly by the chlorination of methane. It is no longer used as an
Choline - A B-fatty acid involved in the production of neurotransmitters
in the brain that regulates mood, appetite, behavior, memory, etc.
Most effective in phosphatidyl choline form. It is believed to help
concentration and alertness. Studies indicate that it improves cognitive
performance. Blood levels of choline decrease during prolonged exercise.
Chromatography - Chromatography is a method for separating
mixtures based on differences in the speed at which they migrate
over or through a stationary phase.
Chronological - Arranged in the order in which events happened;
according to date.
Collarbone - Clavicle: the bone linking the scapula and
Composite - An image of a face made up from separate facial
Coroner - A public official who investigates by inquest
any death not due to natural causes.
Crown - An enamel cover (on teeth).
Cyanide - A chemical compound comprised of carbon and nitrogen.
Cyanide is water-soluble and is used in ore processing solutions
to extract gold from crushed rock.
Cytosine - A pyrimidine base, C4H5N3O, present in living
cells, mainly in combined form, as in nucleic acids.
Deception - The act of deceiving.
Decode - To convert a coded message into understandable
form using ordinary language.
Defuse - To remove the triggering device from (a weapon).
Diagnosis - To process of testing to identify other problems.
Digestion - The act or process by which food is digested
i.e. prepared for use by the body in the stomach and intestines.
Electrocution - Death brought about by electricity.
Electroencephalograph - A machine that measures the electrical
activity of the brain and transfers the information gathered to
a report. Used as a diagnostic tool.
Electrophesis - A method of separating large molecules (such
as DNA fragments or proteins) from a mixture of similar molecules.
An electric current is passed through a medium containing the mixture,
and each kind of molecule travels through the medium at a different
rate, depending on its electrical charge and size. Separation is
based on these differences. Agarose and acrylamide gels are the
media commonly used for electrophoresis of proteins and nucleic
Embezzlement - The fraudulent use of money or property which
has been entrusted to one's care.
Encode - To convert plain text into a different form by
means of a code.
Endothermic - Referring to a process that absorbs energy.
Enzyme - A protein that accelerates the rate of chemical
reactions. Enzymes are catalysts that promote reactions repeatedly,
without being damaged by the reactions.
Equilibrium - A balance: equality of distribution.
Femur - Also called the thighbone, is the long bone between
the hip and the knee.
Fibre - A fine, threadlike piece; matter made from such
Filling - A dental appliance consisting of any of various
substances (as metal or plastic) inserted into a prepared cavity
in a tooth; "when he yawned I could see the gold fillings in
his teeth"; "an informal British term for `filling' is
Firing pin - A plunger in the firing mechanism of a gun
that strikes the primer and thus ignites the propelling charge of
Fluorescein - An orange-red water-soluble compound, C20H12O5
whose solutions in alkalis produce an orange colour and a green
fluorescence. It is used an indicator and in dyes.
Fluorescent - A bright vivid colour that glows under a black
Forensic medicine - A branch of medical science that uses
medical knowledge for legal purposes.
Formaldehyde - A pungent gas; in liquid form, it is used
as an antiseptic, disinfectant and fixative for tissues.
Gas chromatographs - Diagrams representing the different
speeds of various constituents in a substance, as they travel through
a non-reactive gas.
Generalisation - The process of making statements about
the general population on the basis of relevant research.
Glycerol - A three-carbon substance that forms the backbone
of fatty acids in fats. Is a lubricant but has found little because
of its tendency to rapidly absorb moisture.
Gravity - The force of attraction that causes objects to
fall toward the centre of the earth.
Guanine - A purine base, C5H5N5O, present in all living
cells, mainly in combined form, as in nucleic acids.
Habit - An established custom.
Haemoglobin - A haem protein responsible the red colouring
of blood and for the transport of oxygen to the tissues.
Haemorrhage - To bleed severely.
Hard disk - A fast, high-capacity magnetic disk, completely
enclosed in a protective case inside the computer, used for storing
Hologram - A laser-created photograph that creates a three-dimensional
image; used as an anti-counterfeiting measure on bankcards.
Human genome - The complete set of human genes - approximately
100,000 total - which together contain information covering every
aspect of human physical development and function.
Hydrocarbons - Organic chemical compounds of hydrogen and
carbon atoms that form the basis of all petroleum products, they
may exist as solids, liquids or gases.
Hyoid - A U-shaped bone at the base of the tongue that supports
the tongue muscles.
Hypostasis - The pooling of blood as it accumulates at the
lowest parts of the body, being pulled down by gravity; is a method
of determining the position of the body at/after death.
Hypothermia - This situation occurs when the core temperature
of one's body falls below normal. It is the failure of the body
to maintain adequate production of heat under conditions of extreme
Immunoassay -A test using antibodies to identify and quantify
substances. Often the antibody is linked to a marker such as a fluorescent
molecule, a radioactive molecule, or an enzyme.
Indent - A notch or dent left on paper due to the force
from the tip of a pen when writing.
Infrared - Light that is so red humans cannot see it. A
band of the electromagnetic spectrum between the visible and the
microwave. Photons of infrared light are less energetic than photons
of visible light.
Infrared spectroscopy (IR Spectroscopy)- A type of spectroscopy
that uses the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum; electromagnetic
wave frequencies below the visible range.
IP address - The numeric address of a computer on the Internet.
An IP address is written as a set of four numbers separated by periods
(each number can range from 0 to 255). An example of an IP address
Iris - The contractile circular diaphragm forming the coloured
portion of the eye and containing a circular opening (the pupil)
in its centre.
Lacerations - Anything that has been torn roughly for example
- a rough cut.
Larvae - The young of any insect which goes through metamorphosis
(changes in body structure) before becoming an adult.
Larynx - An irregularly shaped, musculocartilaginous tubular
structure lined with mucous membrane, located at the top of the
trachea and below the root of the tongue and the hyoid bone. It
is the essential sphincter guarding the entrance into the trachea
and functioning secondarily as the organ of voice.
Laser - Laser is the acronym of Light Amplification by Stimulated
Emission of Radiation. A device for producing a coherent, monochromatic,
high intensity beam of radiation of a frequency within, or near
to, the range of visible light.
Luminal spray - A substance used to enhance fingerprints.
Luminescence - Emission of light by chemical or electrical
Maggots - The larvae of flies and other insects that live
on rotting food.
Magnetic field - All magnetic fields are created by moving
electric charge. The single moving electron around a nucleus is
a tiny electric current. These orbiting electrons create magnetic
fields and their net effect is to provide the atom with a magnetic
field. Magnetic fields are historically described in terms of their
effect on electric charges. A moving electric charge, such as an
electron, will accelerate in the presence of a magnetic field, causing
it to change velocity and its direction of travel. An electrically
charged particle moving in a magnetic field will experience a force
(known as the Lorentz force) pushing it in a direction perpendicular
to the magnetic field and the direction of motion. Also called magnetic
Manufactured - Made by hand or machinery, especially on
a large scale.
Mass spectrometers - An instrument used to both measure
and analyse molecules under study. The process involves introducing
enough energy into a target molecule to cause its ionisation and
disintegration. The resulting fragments are then analyzed, based
on the mass to charge ratio and produces a "molecular fingerprint."
Mass spectrometry - This technique can be used to both measure
and analyze molecules under study. It involves introducing enough
energy into a target molecule to cause its ionization and disintegration.
The resulting fragments are then analyzed, based on the mass/ charge
ratio to produce a "molecular fingerprint."
Mitochondrial - Of or relating to mitochondrions, one of
the tiny granules (grains; particles), present in living cells,
regarded as responsible for respiration and energy production.
Naked eye - The eye, unaided by any optical instrument that
alters the power of vision or alters the apparent size or distance
of objects; "it is not safe to look directly at the sun with
the naked eye".
Natural radiation - Radiation that is always present in
the environment from such sources as cosmic rays and radioactive
materials in rocks and soils. Also known as background radiation.
Nitrogen - Nitrogen is a gaseous element that occurs in
air (78% of air volume). It is an essential component of proteins
and nucleic acids in living organisms.
Noble gas - Any of a group of rare gases that include helium,
xenon, and sometimes radon and that exhibit great stability and
extremely low reaction rates. They are often referred to as inert
Nucleus - A part of the cell containing DNA and RNA and
responsible for growth and reproduction.
Occiput - Rear portion of crown. In picture it is referred
to as the hindhead.
Odontologist - One who practices the science of teeth.
Oesophagus - A tube connecting the back of the mouth to
the stomach; a part of the digestive system.
Optical - Optical means something that pertains or is designed
to assist sight; pertaining to or using light.
Ossification (osteogenesis)- A three-stage process by which
bone is formed. The first step is the formation of a mesh of collagen
fibers. Next, the body produces a "cement" substance (polysaccharide).
Finally, small crystals of calcium salts are deposited into the
cement to form bone.
Oxidation - The process of oxidizing; the addition of oxygen
to a compound with a loss of electrons; always occurs accompanied
Oxygen - A colourless, odourless gas that makes up about
20 percent of the air we breathe; it is essential to life because
it is used for the chemical reactions that occur in the cells of
PCR (polymerase chain reaction) - A method for amplifying
a DNA base sequence using a heat stable polymerase and two 20-base
primers, one complementary to the (+) strand at one end of the sequence
to be amplified and the other complementary to the (-) strand at
the other end. Because the newly synthesized DNA strands can subsequently
serve as additional templates for the same primer sequences, successive
rounds of primer annealing, strand elongation, and dissociation
produce rapid and highly specific amplification of the desired sequence.
PCR also can be used to detect the existence of the defined sequence
in a DNA sample.
Peroxidase - Any of a group of enzymes (occurring especially
in plant cells) that catalyse the oxidation of a compound by a peroxide.
Perpendicular - Vertical or upright.
Petty crime - A small crime such as minor theft, trespassing
pH level - A measure of acidity or alkalinity as of soil,
water etc. on a scale running from 1 (extreme acidity) to 14 (extreme
alkalinity), equal to the negative logarithm of the concentration
of the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion in gram atoms per
litre. So a pH of 5 indicates a concentration of 10-5 gram atoms
of hydrogen in one litre.
Phenol - A highly poisonous, caustic crystalline chemical
compound derived from coal tar or plant tar or manufactured synthetically.
It has a distinctive, pungent odour and, in solution, is a powerful
Phonetics - The study of the production, transmission, and
reception of speech sounds.
Phosphatase - Any of numerous enzymes that catalyse the
hydrolysis of esters of phosphoric acid and are important in the
absorption and metabolism of carbohydrates, nucleotides, and phospholipids
and in the calcification of bone.
Pigment - Organic substance found in plant and animal cells
that creates colouring.
Pneumographs - Rubber tubes filled with air.
Polygraph - A medical instrument that records several physiological
processes simultaneously (e.g. pulse rate and blood pressure and
respiration and perspiration).
Polymer - A natural or synthetic compound of high molecular
weight composed of long chains of repeating units, each relatively
light and simple.
Prosecutor - The lawyer that represents the government.
Protocol - A set of formal rules describing how to transmit
data, especially across a network. Low-level protocols define the
electrical and physical standards to be observed, bit- and byte-ordering
and the transmission and error detection and correction of the bit
stream. High-level protocols deal with the data formatting, including
the syntax of messages, the terminal-to-computer dialog, character
sets, and sequencing of messages.
Radius - The outer and slightly shorter of the two bones
of the human forearm.
Ransom - An exchange or buy back for money; under threat.
Refractive index - A measure of the degree through which
light is refracted when passing through a particular material compared
to a vacuum.
Residue - Matter that remains after something has been removed.
RH Factor - Any of one or more genetically determined antigens
usu. present in the red blood cells of humans and higher animals
and capable of inducing intense immunogenic reactions -called also
Ridge - A long narrow natural elevation or striation.
Rigor mortis - The stiffening of the body muscles after
Ritual - Stereotyped behaviour.
Root canal - Also called endodontic treatment, it is the
cleaning out the inside nerve of a tooth that is heavily decayed,
and replacing it with a material seals the inside of the root so
infection cannot get back in.
Scanning electronic microscope - A microscope that uses
electrons instead of light to create an image of higher magnifications
than with a light microscope.
Seminal (acid) - Pertaining to or containing or consisting
of semen; "seminal fluid".
Serrated - Containing sharply pointed teeth.
Server - A computer system or program that provides service
across a network. The service may be file access, login access,
file transfer, printing and so on.
Solvents - Liquids, usually petroleum based, that can dissolve
solids and keep them in solution. May contribute to pollution through
Spectroscope - An instrument that separates light into it's
different wavelengths. It is the instrument that permits us to identify
the elements in a particular light source.
Sphygmomanometer - An instrument used to measure blood pressure.
Spina Bifida - A condition in which the spinal cord does
not close over the nerve column during the prenatal period. The
amount of the spinal column that remains open determines how many
nerves will be affected. It may involve loss of sensation and severe
muscle weakness in the lower part of the body. This condition is
often associated with an abnormal buildup of pressure of spinal
fluid in the brain which can produce retardation unless it is surgically
Spleen - A highly vascular, glandlike but ductless organ,
situated in humans near the cardiac end of the stomach, in which
the blood undergoes certain corpuscular changes.
Stippling - This is a method of paint application where
the artist applies a series of dots by dabbing with the end of the
brush, which is held at right angles to the picture surface.
Strangulation - The condition of having respiration stopped
by compression of the air passage.
Subconscious - Subconscious mind: psychic activity just
below the level of awareness.
Swap file - A disk file or partition used to temporarily
store information when system memory runs low.
Symmetric - Having similarity in size, shape, and relative
position of corresponding parts.
Synthetic - Man-made, rather than occurring naturally.
Thermo luminescence - Luminescence produced by heat.
Thin-layer chromatography - A chromatographic procedure
used to identify drugs of abuse in urine using a thin layer of material
such as silicon as a carrier. The separated substances are dyed,
and the resultant colour and migration patterns are used to identify
the drugs in question.
Thymine - A white crystalline pyrimidine base, C5H6N2O2
which occurs in DNA and is one of the four main units upon which
the genetic code is based.
Tissue - A part of an organism consisting of an aggregate
of cells having a similar structure and function.
Tomography - The technique of obtaining an X-ray picture
of a selected layer in an object.
Trauma - A physical injury or wound caused by an external
force of violence, which may cause death or permanent disability.
Trauma is also used to describe severe emotional or psychological
shock or distress.
Ultraviolet - Of or relating to the range of invisible radiation
wavelengths from about 4 nanometers, on the border of the x-ray
region, to about 380 nanometers, just beyond the violet in the visible
Ultraviolet light - Radiation lying in the ultraviolet range;
wave lengths shorter than light but longer than X rays.
Vagus nerve - Either of two cranial nerves extending through
neck into thorax and the upper part of the abdomen - a pneumogastric
Vasectomy - Surgical procedure that removes all or part
of the vas deferens (usually as a means of sterilization); is sometimes
Verdict - The finding or answer given to the court by the
Vertebrae - One or twenty-four moveable segments of the
human spinal column. Two vertebrae adjacent to each other form a
Watermark - A translucent name or design molded into the
paper during the manufacturing process, usually in the border area;
more visible when held up to a light.
Wisdom teeth - The third molar teeth, the last in each quadrant.
X-rays - Invisible, highly penetrating electromagnetic radiation
of a much shorter wavelength than visible light, discovered in 1895
by Wilhelm C. Roentgen. Most applications of X rays are based on
their ability to pass through matter. They are dangerous in that
they can destroy living tissue, causing severe skin burns on human
flesh exposed for too long a time. This property is applied in x-ray
therapy to destroy diseased cells. See Ionising radiation.