Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cut off the head of; behead.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To remove the head of.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To cut off the head of; to behead.
  • transitive v. To remove summarily from office.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To behead; cut off the head of.
  • To remove from office summarily.
  • In mathematics, to strike out, as the highest number of the symbol, in the symbolic method of calculating seminvariants.
  • Of a word, to cut off the beginning.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cut the head of

Etymologies

Late Latin dēcapitāre, dēcapitāt- : Latin dē-, de- + Latin caput, capit-, head; see kaput- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French décapiter, from Late Latin decapitare, from de- + caput. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • There's an intriguing story in today's Telegraph about how the Tories plan to "decapitate" - that is, target and win the seats of - certain Labour ministers come the next election.

    Something the Tories shouldn't admit to

  • They were to give war the kind of precision that would lower civilian deaths to the vanishing point and, as the neocons of the Bush administration would claim in the next decade, free the U.S. military to "decapitate" any regime we loathed.

    Tom Engelhardt: Why Military Dreams Fail -- and Why It Doesn't Matter

  • The Bush administration fanaticized about using shock and awe to "decapitate" the Iraqi regime, and then -- King Midas-like -- touching the country to make it prosperous, civil, and — most important for the Bush administration — compliant.

    Lew Rockwell: Iraq and Moral Corruption

  • Bush has refused to authorize an assassination attempt, though there have been U.S. efforts to "decapitate" the Iraqi leadership through air raids on Baghdad bunkers.

    'His Head On A Plate'

  • Our willy-nilly attempts to "decapitate" Saddam's regime with bunker busters was only a small part of the shock-and-awe bombing campaign that sowed death and depleted-uranium dust (a cancer-causing, DNA-altering time bomb) throughout Iraq.

    Celebrity Carnage

  • Bush and his war cabinet, including Rumsfeld, Cheney and Powell, hastily convened at the White House to consider an airstrike to "decapitate" the Iraqi leadership.

    'I HAVEN'T SUFFERED DOUBT'

  • He said certain people wanted to "decapitate" him and "render the organisation rudderless".

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • According to the rebels 'Radio Vorgan monitored in Luanda, UNITA accused Angolan authorities of trying to "decapitate" the movement by military means by "setting traps" for its fighters.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Britain's David Haye has said that he is going to "decapitate" John Ruiz in Saturday's WBA heavyweight …

    Yahoo! News: Latest news headlines News Headlines | Top Stories

  • Activists reveal tactics used by police to 'decapitate' Copenhagen climate protests

    The Guardian World News

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