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[dih-kap-i-teyt] /dɪˈkæp ɪˌteɪt/
verb (used with object), decapitated, decapitating.
to cut off the head of; behead:
Many people were decapitated during the French Revolution.
Origin of decapitate
1605-15; < Late Latin dēcapitātus, past participle of dēcapitāre, equivalent to dē- de- + capit- (stem of caput) head + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
decapitation, noun
decapitator, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for decapitate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But when they have been tried and they have failed, decapitate them.

    Vittoria, Complete George Meredith
  • The censor can decapitate ideas which but for him might have lived forever.

    Pieces of Hate Heywood Broun
  • Good policy, perhaps; but it is better to corrupt than to decapitate.

    The Man Who Laughs

    Victor Hugo
  • Renata continued to pick violets, and Max to decapitate those he could find.

  • This cannibal trophy is not a sign of barbarous customs: the Bee does not decapitate Ants to adorn her hut.

    Bramble-bees and Others J. Henri Fabre
  • One sailor was wounded by receiving upon his arm a blow from a sabre with which the turbaned pirate meant to decapitate Decatur.

British Dictionary definitions for decapitate


(transitive) to behead
Derived Forms
decapitation, noun
decapitator, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin dēcapitāre, from Latin de- + caput head
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 decapitate

1610s, from French décapiter (14c.), from Late Latin decapitatus past participle of decapitare, from Latin de- "off" (see de-) + caput (genitive capitis) "head" (see capitulum). Related: Decapitated; decapitating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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