transitive verb-·tat·ed, -·tat·ing
- to cut off the head of; behead
- to remove or destroy that part regarded as essential to the operation of: to decapitate a terrorist cell
Origin of decapitateFrench décapiter from Medieval Latin decapitatus, past participle of decapitare from Classical Latin de-, off + caput, head
transitive verbde·cap·i·tat·ed, de·cap·i·tat·ing, de·cap·i·tates
- To cut off the head of; behead.
- To destroy or incapacitate (a government or organization, for example) by killing or removing its leader or leaders.
Origin of decapitateLate Latin dēcapitāre dēcapitāt-Latin dē- de- Latin caput capit- head ; see kaput- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present decapitates, present participle decapitating, simple past and past participle decapitated)