decapitate

verb de·cap·i·tate \ di-ˈka-pə-ˌtāt , dē- \
Updated on: 8 Nov 2017

Definition of decapitate

decapitated; decapitating
transitive verb
:to cut off the head of :behead

decapitation

play \-ˌka-pə-ˈtā-shən\ noun

decapitator

play \-ˈka-pə-ˌtā-tər\ noun

Examples of decapitate in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples of decapitate from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of decapitate

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

decapitate Synonyms

Synonyms
behead, guillotine, head
Related Words
decollate; prune, shorten, trim; scalp

DECAPITATE Defined for English Language Learners

decapitate

verb

Definition of decapitate for English Language Learners

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


DECAPITATE Defined for Kids

decapitate

verb de·cap·i·tate \ di-ˈka-pə-ˌtāt \

Definition of decapitate for Students

decapitated; decapitating
:to cut off the head of :behead

Word Root of decapitate

The Latin word caput, meaning “head," gives us the root capit, which is sometimes shortened to capt. Words from the Latin caput have something to do with the head or a place where decisions are made. The capital of a state or country is the city where the government is and where decisions are made about laws. A captain is the person who heads a group and leads his members. To decapitate is to cut off someone's head.


Medical Dictionary

1

decapitate

transitive verb de·cap·i·tate \ di-ˈkap-ə-ˌtāt \

medical Definition of decapitate

decapitated; decapitating
:to cut off the head of

decapitation

play \-ˌkap-ə-ˈtā-shən\ noun

2

decapitate

adjective de·cap·i·tate \ -ə-ˌtāt , -ət-ət \

medical Definition of decapitate

:relating to or being a decapitated experimental animal


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