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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Similar incidents have long turned up in Europe, where there are many accounts of corpses being dug up, burned, rearranged, decapitated or having stakes driven through them. Author: Michael E. Ruane, Anchorage Daily News, "Remains of an American ‘vampire’ were found about 30 years ago. Now DNA is giving him new life.," 1 Aug. 2019 Similar incidents have long turned up in Europe, where there are many accounts of corpses being dug up, burned, rearranged, decapitated or having stakes driven through them. Michael E. Ruane, courant.com, "A ‘vampire’s’ remains were found about 30 years ago in Connecticut. Now DNA is giving him new life.," 31 July 2019 Similar incidents have long turned up in Europe, where there are many accounts of corpses being dug up, burned, rearranged, decapitated or having stakes driven through them. oregonlive.com, "A ‘vampire’s’ remains were found about 30 years ago. Now DNA is giving him new life.," 31 July 2019 At least 57 inmates were killed in a Brazil prison riot, with 16 victims decapitated. Petra Cahill, NBC News, "#GilroyStrong, Olympic Committee 'failed' athletes & Democrats debate: The Morning Rundown," 30 July 2019 The male dogs, both weighing over 80 pounds, had been decapitated and discarded. Washington Post, "Southern Maryland crime report," 25 July 2019 Paulino's body was discovered on the bank of the Merrimack River in December 2016, decapitated and missing his hands. Laura Ly, CNN, "Massachusetts teen sentenced to life in prison in classmate's beheading," 9 July 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about decapitate

Dictionary Entries near decapitate

decantate

decanter

decap

decapitate

decapod

Decapoda

decapodiform

Statistics for decapitate

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for decapitate

The first known use of decapitate was circa 1611

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on decapitate

What made you want to look up decapitate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

readily or continually undergoing change

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!