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See also: décapitation



From French décapitation.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪkæpɪˈteɪʃən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃən


decapitation (countable and uncountable, plural decapitations)

  1. Beheading; the act of beheading or decapitating.
    If the headsman's axe was sharp and his aim was true, decapitation was a quick and relatively painless form of death
  2. The ousting or destruction of the ruling body of a government or other organization.
    A decapitation strike carried out by drone killed many of the country's senior generals.
  3. (politics) The unseating of a senior politician.
    The decapitation of the Foreign Secretary was a significant publicity coup for the opposition.
    • 2005, Simon Henig, Lewis Baston, Politico's Guide to the General Election 2005, page 223:
      The Lib Dem contender hoping to accomplish a bit of pre-emptive decapitation is Andrew Crawford.
    • 2009 May 1, Andrew Denham and Kieron O'Hara, Democratising Conservative leadership selection: from grey suits to grass roots, page 108:
      Some also thought that the Lib Dem decapitation strategy had kept him cornered in his constituency during the campaign, unable to play a wider role.
    • 2010 May 7, Oliver Burkeman, “UK election results 2010: A war of words deep into the night”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Nearing 2.30, stoking fears of a disastrous night for the Lib Dems, the Tories achieved their first "decapitation" ‑ a visibly shocked Lembit Opik, in once-safe Montgomeryshire ‑ while evading their own biggest risk of high-profile embarrassment: Oliver Letwin held Dorset West.


Derived terms[edit]