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 \ -​ˌka-​pə-​ˈtā-​shən How to pronounce decapitation (audio) \ noun
decapitator \ -​ˈka-​pə-​ˌtā-​tər How to pronounce decapitator (audio) \ 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 bodies were then decapitated and priests removed the skin and muscle from the corpses’ heads. James Rogers, Fox News, "Gruesome human sacrifice discovery: Skulls reveal grisly secrets of lost Aztec city," 27 June 2018 Many investigations will instead rely on museum samples, like Djehutynakht’s decapitated head. New York Times, "The F.B.I. and the Mystery of the Mummy’s Head," 2 Apr. 2018 Almost immediately one of them tries to decapitate me. Luke O'brien, Town & Country, "Hot Pursuit," 1 Sep. 2013 When the General Pickens statue gets decapitated, of course suspicion is placed on the Serpents. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "OK, But Who The Heck is Tall Boy on "Riverdale"?," 24 Jan. 2019 But what the Sutcliffes didn't know is that snakes can still bite and inject venom for at least an hour, if not more, after being decapitated. Allyson Chiu, chicagotribune.com, "A Texas man decapitated a rattlesnake. It bit him anyway and he nearly died, his wife says.," 7 June 2018 But what the Sutcliffes didn't know is that snakes can still bite and inject venom for at least an hour, if not more, after being decapitated. Allyson Chiu, Anchorage Daily News, "A Texas man decapitated a rattlesnake. The head bit him anyway and he nearly died.," 7 June 2018 According to National Geographic, when a snake is decapitated, its head still has the capacity to carry out reflexive action, such as being able to open its mouth, bite and inject large amounts of venom. PEOPLE.com, "Father of Two Nearly Dies After Being Bitten By Rattlesnake's Severed Head: 'It Was Very Scary'," 7 June 2018 Murderabilia from a Houston man accused of decapitating his mother hit the market this month, even before the case made it to trial. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Murderabilia for sale from Houston man accused of decapitating mother," 24 May 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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Learn More about decapitate

Dictionary Entries near decapitate

decantate

decanter

decap

decapitate

decapod

Decapoda

decapodiform

Statistics for decapitate

Last Updated

4 Apr 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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