verb (used with object), decapitated, decapitating.
to cut off the head of; behead: Many people were decapitated during the French revolution.

1605–15; < Late Latin dēcapitātus, past participle of dēcapitāre, equivalent to dē- de- + capit- (stem of caput) head + -ātus -ate

decapitation, noun
decapitator, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
decapitate (dɪˈkæpɪˌteɪt)
(tr) to behead
[C17: from Late Latin dēcapitāre, from Latin de- + caput head]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1610s, from Fr. decapiter, from L.L. decapitatus pp. of decapitare, from L. de- "off" + caput (gen. capitis) "head" (see head).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

decapitation de·cap·i·ta·tion (dĭ-kāp'ĭ-tā'shən)
The removal of a head, as of an animal, a fetus, or a bone.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


a mode of executing capital punishment by which the head is severed from the body. The ancient Greeks and Romans regarded it as a most honourable form of death. Before execution the criminal was tied to a stake and whipped with rods. In early times an ax was used, but later a sword, which was considered a more honourable instrument of death, was used for Roman citizens. Ritual decapitation known as seppuku was practiced in Japan from the 15th through the 19th century. One symbolic consequence of the French Revolution was the extension of the privilege of beheading to criminals of ordinary birth, by means of the guillotine.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Presumably the stress of impending decapitation caused her locks to lose color
  within hours.
But it's more than a spectacular act of decapitation, it's also loads of fun to
Only the head is served, but a waitress said that shrimp remain alive for a few
  minutes after decapitation.
It was the decapitation of the country's pre-war elite.
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