be·​head | \ bi-ˈhed How to pronounce behead (audio) , bē- \
beheaded; beheading; beheads

Definition of behead

transitive verb

: to cut off the head of : decapitate

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Examples of behead in a Sentence

Louis XVI was beheaded in 1793. Mary, Queen of Scots, was beheaded for plotting against Queen Elizabeth.
Recent Examples on the Web Convicted of treason against Queen Elizabeth I of England, she was beheaded at Fotheringay Castle in England in 1587. Mary’s portrait was painted over with a portrait of Sir John Maitland, 1st Lord Maitland of Thirlestane. Fox News, "Elizabeth I unmasked as author of mysterious manuscript," 30 Nov. 2019 Room 311, also known as known as Annalisa Netherly’s room, is haunted by the ghost of Annalisa Netherly, a guest who was allegedly beheaded in the bathtub by a jealous lover in the 1920s. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "WATCH: Could You Handle Spending a Night in One of the Most Haunted Hotel Rooms in America?," 30 Sep. 2019 Their henchmen have beheaded defiant sheikhs and killed confidants of Libya’s grand mufti, who supports the GNA. The Economist, "The battle for Tripoli could be decided by the Madkhalis," 14 Nov. 2019 Some were beheaded, their heads left in public view as a warning. Elaine Ayala,, "Ayala: Re-enactments for the 21st century? San Antonio can lead the way," 12 Nov. 2019 London’s National Gallery will devote a whole exhibition to the Renaissance artist Artemisia Gentileschi next year (Gentileschi famously used the face of her rapist as the model for her portrait of Holofernes being beheaded by Judith). Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "A New Exhibition Shows Women as Artists, Not Muses," 29 Oct. 2019 Women accused of adultery were stoned to death, thieves had their hands hacked off, and men who had defied the militants were beheaded. Rukmini Callimachi, New York Times, "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS Leader Known for His Brutality, Is Dead at 48," 27 Oct. 2019 So he’s beheaded and brought before the table setting. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "4 Art Experts Analyze That Historic Nancy Pelosi vs. Donald Trump Photo," 18 Oct. 2019 The group beheaded seven American, British and Japanese journalists and aid workers, as well as a group of Syrian soldiers, touting the slaughtering to the rest of the world with video evidence. Fox News, "2 ISIS-linked British captives in Syria taken into US custody, officials say," 10 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'behead.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of behead

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for behead

Time Traveler

The first known use of behead was before the 12th century

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Statistics for behead

Last Updated

9 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Behead.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for behead


How to pronounce behead (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of behead

: to cut off the head of (someone) especially as a punishment


be·​head | \ bi-ˈhed How to pronounce behead (audio) \
beheaded; beheading

Kids Definition of behead

: to cut off the head of

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More from Merriam-Webster on behead

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for behead

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with behead

Spanish Central: Translation of behead

Nglish: Translation of behead for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of behead for Arabic Speakers

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delight or enjoyment

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