• synonyms


[ey-sef-uh-luh s]
  1. Also a·ce·phal·ic [ey-suh-fal-ik] /ˌeɪ səˈfæl ɪk/. Zoology. headless; lacking a distinct head.
  2. without a leader or ruler.
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Origin of acephalous

1725–35; < Greek aképhalos; see a-6, -cephalous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for acephalous

Historical Examples of acephalous

  • 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.'

British Dictionary definitions for acephalous


  1. having no head or one that is reduced and indistinct, as certain insect larvae
  2. having or recognizing no ruler or leader
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Word Origin for acephalous

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

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-).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper