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.).

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

Contemporary Examples of beheader

  • Another fighter has on a black mask such as a beheader would wear and now begins to undress to join Crawford and their pals.

    The Daily Beast logo
    ISIS Has a Bigger Coalition Than We Do

    Michael Daly

    October 15, 2014

Historical Examples of beheader

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

    Little Fuzzy

    Henry Beam Piper

British Dictionary definitions for beheader



(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