[ bih-hed ]
/ bɪˈhɛd /

verb (used with object)

to cut off the head of; kill or execute by decapitation.
Geology. (of a pirate stream) to divert the headwaters of (a river, stream, etc.).

Nearby words

  1. behavioural,
  2. behavioural contagion,
  3. behavioural science,
  4. behavioural sink,
  5. behaviourism,
  6. beheld,
  7. behemoth,
  8. behenic,
  9. behenic acid,
  10. behest

Origin of behead

before 1000; Middle English behe(f)den, beheveden, Old English behēafdian. See be-, head

Related formsbe·head·al, nounbe·head·er, nounun·be·head·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for beheader

  • The paddle end had been used as a shovel, beheader and shell-cracker.

    Little Fuzzy|Henry Beam Piper

British Dictionary definitions for beheader


/ (bɪˈhɛd) /


(tr) to remove the head from; decapitate

Word Origin for behead

Old English behēafdian, from be- + heafod head; related to Middle High German behoubeten

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 beheader



Old English beheafdian, from be-, here with privative force, + heafod (see head (n.)). Related: Beheaded; beheading.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper