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Basic Information

Decapitation is the removal of the head from the body. It may be accidental, such as in an explosion or car crash. It may be intentional, as in murder or the method of execution known as beheading. Decapitation is fatal within seconds.

Sometimes decapitation is done intentionally after death, as a trophy, to "send a message", to prevent identification of the body, or for Cryonics. Where such things are (thought to be) relevant, removal of the head may also be done to limit the corpse's ability to make a nuisance of itself (although various headless ghosts and similar things suggest that this technique may have the occasional flaw).

Decapitation can also be used figuratively, to refer to removing the leadership of an organization, the leaders being the "head" of the group.

See Also

Chief Comcomly's Skull
The Headless Horseman
Head Transplant
Honeyed Head Of Archonides
Internal Decapitation
List of people who have been beheaded
Madame Guillotine
Mike The Headless Chicken
Silent Woman
Severed Head
Sword of Justice
Vorpal Sword


Alas Poor Yorick
Brain In A Jar
Deader Than Dead
Off With His Head
Losing Your Head
Made of Plasticine
Pulling Themselves Together
Your Head A Splode


1. Wikipedia - but most of the article has to do with Beheading

Game and Story Use

  • Heck of a nasty Critical Hit.
  • Waving around the head of an enemy on a pike may be a deterrent against attack from your other enemies. Or at least that's how the Big Bad Evil Guy justifies it.
    • And in games with morale or psychology systems, it just might be mechanically effective.
  • When decapitation is not fatal within seconds, hilarity may ensue … even if it's just the equivalent of a headless chicken running about reflexively. If removing someone's head is little or no obstacle to them - such as in the story of Gawain and the Green Knight - things become a lot more alarming.
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