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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce decapitate (audio)

Dictionary definition of decapitate

To cut off the head from the body, usually with a sharp instrument such as a sword or a guillotine.
"The knight threatened to decapitate the rogue with a swift swing of his sword."

Detailed meaning of decapitate

It can also refer to the act of removing or destroying the head or upper part of something, such as a statue or a tree. The word is often used in a violent or gruesome context, as it is a form of execution, or a way to inflict serious harm or death. The act of beheading is considered a severe form of punishment and is still used in some countries as a method of execution. Historically, it has been used as a form of punishment, execution, or as a form of warfare. Nowadays, it is considered a barbaric act, and it is illegal in most countries. Decapitation can also be accidental, such as in the case of a severe injury or a traumatic accident. The term can also be used in a figurative sense, such as to describe the removal of someone's authority, power or prestige, as in "to decapitate the leadership".

Example sentences containing decapitate

1. Horror films often use decapitate scenes to shock the audience.
2. Some insects, like praying mantises, decapitate their prey before consuming it.
3. Historically, people used the guillotine to decapitate criminals.
4. The warrior vowed to decapitate the enemy king.
5. The tree cutter didn't want to decapitate the entire tree, just trim the branches.
6. The medieval painting showed a scene where a saint was decapitated.

History and etymology of decapitate

The verb 'decapitate' has its roots in both Latin and French. It is derived from the Latin word 'decapitare,' which is a combination of 'de' (from) and 'caput' (head). In Latin, 'decapitare' meant 'to remove the head.' This Latin term later influenced the Old French word 'decapiter,' which carried a similar meaning. As 'decapiter' made its way into Middle English, it became 'decapitate,' signifying the act of cutting off the head from the body, typically using a sharp instrument like a sword or a guillotine. Thus, the etymology of 'decapitate' eloquently describes the gruesome and precise action of severing the head from the rest of the body, emphasizing its historical association with execution and brutality.

Quiz: Find the meaning of decapitate

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Further usage examples of decapitate

1. The ancient Celts would sometimes decapitate their enemies as part of a ritual.
2. The action figure’s head fell off, appearing as if it were decapitated.
3. She would decapitate the flowers and leave only the stems for decoration.
4. It is rumored that the ghost in the castle was decapitated by an angry mob.
5. The robot was designed to decapitate weeds without damaging crops.
6. The queen ordered the executioner to decapitate the prisoner at dawn.
7. The statue was vandalized, and someone tried to decapitate it.
8. The samurai used his sharp katana to decapitate his foe in one swift move.
9. In the novel, the villain meets his end when the hero decapitates him.
10. A mishap during the puppet show made it look like one of the puppets got decapitated.
11. The chef uses a special tool to decapitate the fish efficiently.
12. The video game character has a special move to decapitate zombies.
13. The ancient tomb had inscriptions that described how the warriors decapitated their enemies.
14. The bird was decapitated by the sharp edge of the wind turbine.



behead, reattach, heal, mend


Ravage and Ruin, Disgust and Aversion, Hostility and Brutality, Violence and Aggression

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