Decapitation (from Latin, caput, capitis, meaning head), or beheading, is the removal of a living organism's head. Beheading typically refers to the act of intentional decapitation, e.g., as a means of murder or execution; it may be accomplished, for example, with an axe, sword, any kind of wire, or knife, or by means of a guillotine. Accidental decapitation can be the result of an explosion, automobile or industrial accident, improperly-administered execution by hanging or other violent injury. Suicide by decapitation is rare, but not unknown. An executioner carrying out decapitations is called a headsman.
The word decapitation can also refer, on occasion, to the removal of the head from a body that is already dead. This might be done to take the head as a trophy, for public display, to make the deceased more difficult to identify, or for other reasons.
In an analogous fashion, de
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