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[ey-sef-uh-luh s] /eɪˈsɛf ə ləs/
Also, acephalic
[ey-suh-fal-ik] /ˌeɪ səˈfæl ɪk/ (Show IPA)
. Zoology. headless; lacking a distinct head.
without a leader or ruler.
Origin of acephalous
1725-35; < Greek aképhalos; see a-6, -cephalous Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for acephalous
Historical Examples
  • Such is a summary description of all the acephalous Molluscs.

    The Ocean World: Louis Figuier
  • Almost all bivalve shells, or those of acephalous mollusca, are marine, about ten only out of ninety genera being freshwater.

  • But in its present acephalous condition it is but a fragment of sciencea headless corpse, unfit to rank among complete sciences.

  • I cannot imagine anything more manifestly made to be a tyranny than such an acephalous aristocracy.

    What I Saw in America G. K. Chesterton
  • He found it more 'acephalous' than ever; 'less order; less unity of purpose.'

  • Anarchism, with its knife and bomb, is a miscarriage of Socialism, an acephalous birth from that fruitful mother.

    New Worlds For Old Herbert George Wells
  • Its cercari are usually found in an acephalous mollusc, known by the name of Cyclas cornea.

    Animal Parasites and Messmates P. J. Van Beneden
British Dictionary definitions for acephalous


having no head or one that is reduced and indistinct, as certain insect larvae
having or recognizing no ruler or leader
Word Origin
C18: via Medieval Latin from Greek akephalos. See a-1, -cephalic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for acephalous

"headless," 1731, from French acéphale + -ous, or directly from Late Latin acephalus, from Greek akephalos, from a- "not" + kephale "head" (see cephalo-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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