decapitate

verb
de·​cap·​i·​tate | \ di-ˈka-pə-ˌtāt How to pronounce decapitate (audio) , dē-\
decapitated; decapitating

Definition of decapitate

transitive verb

: to cut off the head of : behead

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Other Words from decapitate

decapitation \ di-​ˌka-​pə-​ˈtā-​shən How to pronounce decapitation (audio) , dē-​ \ noun
decapitator \ di-​ˈka-​pə-​ˌtā-​tər How to pronounce decapitator (audio) , dē-​ \ noun

Synonyms for decapitate

Synonyms

behead, guillotine, head

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Did You Know?

Decapitation is a quick and fairly painless way to go, so it was once considered suitable only for nobles like Sir Walter Raleigh, Mary Queen of Scots, and two of Henry VIII's unfortunate wives. The invention of the guillotine in the 18th century was meant to make execution swifter and more painless than hanging or a badly aimed blow by the executioner's sword.

Examples of decapitate in a Sentence

a particularly gruesome series of murders in which the victims were decapitated

Recent Examples on the Web

The findings could even inspire robots that navigate the world like the mantises—save for grabbing prey with spiky arms and decapitating them. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Why These Praying Mantises Are Wearing Itty-Bitty 3D Glasses," 9 Aug. 2019 Since then, Hollywood and the entertainment industry have been in constant competition to imagine the most gruesome way of killing off Trump — stabbing, blowing up, burning, shooting, suffocating, decapitating or beating. Victor Davis Hanson, The Mercury News, "Hanson: Menacing invective against Trump creates scary climate," 1 Aug. 2019 Since then, Hollywood and the entertainment industry have been in constant competition to imagine the most gruesome way of killing off Trump: stabbing, blowing up, burning, shooting, suffocating, decapitating, or beating. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "The Dangerous Invective against Trump," 1 Aug. 2019 One of the few natural predators of live lubbers is the shrike, a small bird that can decapitate the grasshoppers with its beak or impale them on thorns or barbed-wire fences. Adriana Brasileiro, orlandosentinel.com, "Monster grasshoppers swarm Everglades," 19 July 2019 Officials say 58 people were decapitated or asphyxiated by the fire. Washington Post, "In Brazil, tough-on-crime approach packs prisons," 1 Aug. 2019 Most of the inmates were killed by asphyxiation caused by a fire, but 16 were decapitated. The Economist, "Politics this week," 1 Aug. 2019 At least 16 of the victims were decapitated, authorities said. Terrence Mccoy And, BostonGlobe.com, "Dozens of inmates killed in Brazil prison riot," 29 July 2019 The Kansas waterslide on which a 10-year-old boy was decapitated two years ago will be demolished later this year, officials announced Thursday. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Kansas water park to tear down slide 2 years after boy's beheading," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decapitate.' 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 decapitate

circa 1611, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for decapitate

Late Latin decapitatus, past participle of decapitare, from Latin de- + capit-, caput head — more at head

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Dictionary Entries near decapitate

decantate

decanter

decap

decapitate

decapod

Decapoda

decapodiform

Statistics for decapitate

Last Updated

22 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for decapitate

The first known use of decapitate was circa 1611

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More Definitions for decapitate

decapitate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of decapitate

: to cut off the head of (a person or animal)

decapitate

verb
de·​cap·​i·​tate | \ di-ˈka-pə-ˌtāt How to pronounce decapitate (audio) \
decapitated; decapitating

Kids Definition of decapitate

: to cut off the head of : behead

decapitate

transitive verb
de·​cap·​i·​tate | \ di-ˈkap-ə-ˌtāt How to pronounce decapitate (audio) \
decapitated; decapitating

Medical Definition of decapitate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cut off the head of

Other Words from decapitate

decapitation \ -​ˌkap-​ə-​ˈtā-​shən How to pronounce decapitation (audio) \ noun

decapitate

adjective
de·​cap·​i·​tate | \ -ə-ˌtāt How to pronounce decapitate (audio) , -ət-ət How to pronounce decapitate (audio) \

Medical Definition of decapitate (Entry 2 of 2)

: relating to or being a decapitated experimental animal

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Comments on decapitate

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