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decapitate (verb) cut off a person's head.
To decapitate was a common form of punishment in the olden days of kings and queens even for minor offenses. If hanging was one means of punishment, decapitating, that is, cutting the head off from the body, was the other means of punishment. King Charles I of England was decapitated by the Republicans under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century.
- As their demand for ransom was not met within the deadline, the terrorists decapitated the kidnapped man, threw his headless body in the canal, and sent the head in a bag to his next of kin.
- To hang a person is much less brutal than to decapitate a person, because the sight of a head and body severed can be very shocking and bloody.