How Do You Say “Behead” In Spanish?

A new language can open up a world of possibilities, from travel to business opportunities and even personal growth. For those looking to expand their linguistic horizons, Spanish is a popular and practical choice. With over 500 million speakers worldwide, it is the second most spoken language in the world and an official language in 21 countries. But what about translating more complex words and phrases? For example, how do you say “behead” in Spanish?

The Spanish translation for “behead” is “decapitar”. This verb is commonly used to describe the act of cutting off someone’s head, usually as a form of execution or punishment. While it may not be a pleasant word, it is important to understand and be able to communicate even the most difficult concepts in a new language.

How Do You Pronounce The Spanish Word For “Behead”?

Learning to properly pronounce words in a foreign language can be a challenging but rewarding experience. If you are looking to learn how to say “behead” in Spanish, it is important to understand the correct pronunciation to ensure effective communication.

The Spanish word for “behead” is “decapitar.” The phonetic breakdown of this word is as follows: deh-kah-pee-tahr.

To properly pronounce “decapitar,” start by emphasizing the second syllable, “kah.” The “deh” should be pronounced softly, almost like a “duh” sound. The “pee” should be pronounced with a short “e” sound, as in “pet.” Finally, the “tahr” should be pronounced with a hard “r” sound, almost like a growling noise.

Here are some additional tips for pronouncing “decapitar” correctly:

  • Practice saying the word slowly and carefully, breaking it down into its individual syllables.
  • Listen to native Spanish speakers pronounce the word to get a better idea of the correct pronunciation.
  • Focus on the rhythm and stress of the word. In Spanish, stress is typically placed on the second-to-last syllable.

With practice and patience, you can master the pronunciation of “decapitar” and other Spanish words. Remember to take your time and focus on the individual sounds and syllables, and don’t be afraid to ask native speakers for help and guidance.

Proper Grammatical Use Of The Spanish Word For “Behead”

Proper grammar is essential when using the Spanish word for “behead” to ensure clear and effective communication. Incorrect usage of the word can lead to confusion or misunderstandings, which can be detrimental in various contexts.

Placement Of Behead In Sentences

The Spanish word for “behead” is “decapitar.” It is a transitive verb, which means it requires a direct object to complete its meaning. When using “decapitar” in a sentence, it should be placed immediately before the direct object.

For example:

  • Correct: El rey decapitó al traidor. (The king beheaded the traitor.)
  • Incorrect: El rey al traidor decapitó.

Verb Conjugations Or Tenses

Like all Spanish verbs, “decapitar” has different conjugations depending on the subject and tense. Here are the present tense conjugations:

Subject Conjugation
Yo decapito
Él/Ella/Usted decapita
Nosotros/Nosotras decapitamos
Vosotros/Vosotras decapitáis
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes decapitan

It’s important to note that the past tense conjugation of “decapitar” is irregular:

Subject Conjugation
Yo decapité
Él/Ella/Usted decapitó
Nosotros/Nosotras decapitamos
Vosotros/Vosotras decapitasteis
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes decapitaron

Agreement With Gender And Number

When using “decapitar” with a direct object, it must agree with the gender and number of the object. If the direct object is masculine singular, use “decapitó.” If it’s feminine singular, use “decapitó” as well. If the direct object is masculine plural, use “decapitaron.” If it’s feminine plural, use “decapitaron” as well.

For example:

  • El verdugo decapitó al prisionero. (The executioner beheaded the prisoner.)
  • La reina decapitó a la traidora. (The queen beheaded the traitor.)
  • Los reyes decapitaron a los traidores. (The kings beheaded the traitors.)
  • Las reinas decapitaron a las traidoras. (The queens beheaded the traitors.)

Common Exceptions

There are no common exceptions to the grammatical rules of “decapitar.” However, it’s important to note that the word is quite strong and should be used with caution in everyday conversation. It’s more commonly used in historical or literary contexts.

Examples Of Phrases Using The Spanish Word For “Behead”

When it comes to learning a new language, it’s not just about the individual words themselves, but how they are used in context. One particularly gruesome word that Spanish learners may encounter is “decapitar,” which means “to behead.” Here are some common phrases that include this word, along with examples of how they are used in sentences.

Examples Of Phrases

Phrase English Translation
Decapitar a alguien To behead someone
Ser decapitado To be beheaded
La decapitación The beheading

Let’s take a closer look at each of these phrases.

Decapitar A Alguien

This phrase translates directly to “to behead someone.” It can be used in a variety of contexts, from historical accounts of beheadings to fictional works that feature this gruesome act. Here are a few examples:

  • El rey ordenó decapitar a los traidores. (The king ordered the traitors to be beheaded.)
  • El criminal fue decapitado en la plaza pública. (The criminal was beheaded in the public square.)

Ser Decapitado

If you want to talk about someone being beheaded in the passive voice, you can use this phrase. It translates to “to be beheaded.”

  • Muchos mártires fueron ser decapitados en el siglo III. (Many martyrs were beheaded in the third century.)
  • El prisionero fue ser decapitado al amanecer. (The prisoner was to be beheaded at dawn.)

La Decapitación

Finally, we have “la decapitación,” which simply means “the beheading.” This noun can be used in a variety of contexts, from news articles to academic papers. Here are a few examples:

  • La decapitación de Ana Bolena fue un evento histórico muy importante. (The beheading of Anne Boleyn was a very important historical event.)
  • El estudio analizó los efectos psicológicos de la decapitación en el público. (The study analyzed the psychological effects of beheading on the public.)

Example Spanish Dialogue

Finally, let’s see how these phrases might be used in a real-life conversation. Here’s a short dialogue between two friends, with translations provided below.

Amigo 1: ¿Has visto la película sobre la Revolución Francesa?

Amigo 2: Sí, la vi hace unos días. ¿Por qué lo preguntas?

Amigo 1: Me encantó la escena en la que decapitan al rey. Fue muy realista.

Amigo 2: No me gusta ver la decapitación de nadie, incluso si es solo una película.


Friend 1: Have you seen the movie about the French Revolution?

Friend 2: Yes, I saw it a few days ago. Why do you ask?

Friend 1: I loved the scene where they behead the king. It was very realistic.

Friend 2: I don’t like watching anyone get beheaded, even if it’s just a movie.

More Contextual Uses Of The Spanish Word For “Behead”

When it comes to language, context is key. The word “behead” is no exception, and understanding how it is used in various contexts is essential for effectively communicating in Spanish. In this section, we will explore the formal and informal uses of “behead,” as well as other contexts such as slang, idiomatic expressions, and cultural/historical uses. Additionally, we will touch on any popular cultural usage of the word, if applicable.

Formal Usage Of Behead

In formal contexts, such as legal or academic settings, the Spanish word for “behead” is “decapitar.” This term is derived from the Latin word “decapitare,” which means “to cut off the head.” It is important to note that “decapitar” is a transitive verb, meaning it requires an object. For example, “El rey decapitó al traidor” translates to “The king beheaded the traitor.”

Informal Usage Of Behead

While “decapitar” is appropriate for formal contexts, it may sound overly formal or even archaic in everyday conversation. In more casual settings, the Spanish word for “behead” is “cortar la cabeza.” This phrase translates literally to “cut the head,” and is often used in the imperative form as a warning or threat. For example, “¡Cállate o te corto la cabeza!” translates to “Shut up or I’ll cut your head off!”

Other Contexts

Beyond its formal and informal uses, the Spanish word for “behead” can also be found in various slang, idiomatic expressions, and cultural/historical contexts. For example, in some Latin American countries, the term “degollar” is used as a slang term for “behead.” Additionally, there are several idiomatic expressions that use “cortar la cabeza” to mean something other than literal beheading. For instance, “cortarle la cabeza a alguien” can also mean to fire someone from their job.

From a historical perspective, the act of beheading has played a significant role in Spanish culture. The guillotine was used during the Spanish Civil War as a method of execution, and the practice of beheading was also used during the Spanish Inquisition. These historical uses of “behead” have contributed to its cultural significance in the Spanish-speaking world.

Popular Cultural Usage

While there may not be a specific popular cultural usage of the Spanish word for “behead,” references to beheading can be found in various forms of media, such as movies and television shows. For example, the popular Netflix series “Narcos” features several scenes of beheadings, and the word “decapitar” is used frequently throughout the show.

Regional Variations Of The Spanish Word For “Behead”

Just like any other language, Spanish has regional variations that can make it challenging for non-native speakers to comprehend. One of the most interesting aspects of these variations is how different countries use different words to describe the same thing. In this article, we will explore the different ways to say “behead” in Spanish across various Spanish-speaking countries.

Spanish Word For Behead In Different Countries

While the word “behead” in English is a straightforward and universally understood term, Spanish-speaking countries have different ways of expressing this concept. Here are some examples of how the word “behead” is used in different Spanish-speaking countries:

Country Word for Behead
Mexico Decapitar
Spain Decapitar
Argentina Descabezar
Colombia Degollar

As you can see, even though the concept of “beheading” is the same, the word used to describe it can vary from country to country.

Regional Pronunciations

Not only do different Spanish-speaking countries have different words for “behead,” but they also have different pronunciations. For example, in Spain, the word “decapitar” is pronounced with a soft “c” sound, while in Mexico, it is pronounced with a hard “c” sound. Similarly, the word “degollar” in Colombia is pronounced with a rolling “r” sound, while in Argentina, the “r” is pronounced more softly.

These regional pronunciations can make it challenging for non-native Spanish speakers to understand the word, especially if they are not familiar with the specific dialect of the country they are in.

In conclusion, the Spanish word for “behead” varies across different Spanish-speaking countries, and each country has its own unique pronunciation. To ensure effective communication, it is essential to be aware of these variations and adjust accordingly.

Other Uses Of The Spanish Word For “Behead” In Speaking & Writing

Although the word “behead” is typically associated with a violent and gruesome act, it can also have other meanings in the Spanish language. Context is key when it comes to understanding the various uses of this word.

Literal Meaning

The most common meaning of “behead” in Spanish is “decapitar.” This refers to the act of cutting off someone’s head, typically as a form of execution or punishment. It is important to note that this is a very serious and violent act, and should not be used lightly.

Metaphorical Use

However, “behead” can also be used in a metaphorical sense. For example, if someone says “esto me va a decapitar,” they are not actually referring to the physical act of having their head cut off. Instead, they are using the word to express that something is causing them great stress or difficulty.

Regional Variations

It is worth noting that the use of “behead” can vary depending on the region. In some countries, such as Mexico, the word “degollar” may be used instead of “decapitar.” Additionally, some regions may have their own unique slang or expressions that use the word “behead” in a different way.

Context Is Key

When encountering the word “behead” in Spanish, it is important to pay attention to the context in which it is being used. This will help you understand the intended meaning and avoid any misunderstandings. If in doubt, it is always best to ask for clarification.

Common Words And Phrases Similar To The Spanish Word For “Behead”

When it comes to finding synonyms for the Spanish word for “behead,” there are a few options that can be used interchangeably, depending on the context. Some of the most common words and phrases that are similar to “behead” include:


The word “decapitate” is often used as a synonym for “behead,” as it refers to the act of cutting off someone’s head. This word is commonly used in both medical and forensic contexts, as well as in discussions of capital punishment or other violent acts. For example, one might say:

  • “The victim was decapitated during the attack.”
  • “The executioner used an axe to decapitate the prisoner.”


Another word that is often used in place of “behead” is “execute,” which refers to the act of carrying out a sentence of death or punishment. While “execute” can refer to a variety of different methods of punishment, including hanging, electrocution, or lethal injection, it is often used to describe beheadings in particular. For example:

  • “The king ordered the prisoner to be executed by beheading.”
  • “The rebels threatened to execute the hostages if their demands were not met.”


While “behead” is the Spanish word that is most commonly used to describe the act of cutting off someone’s head, it is also sometimes used as a noun to describe the result of that act. In this context, “beheading” refers to the act of removing someone’s head, rather than to the act itself. For example:

  • “The beheading of the queen was a turning point in the country’s history.”
  • “The museum displayed a collection of ancient swords used for beheading.”


While there are many synonyms and related terms for “behead,” there are also a number of antonyms that describe the opposite action. Some of the most common antonyms include:

  • “Attach,” which means to connect or fasten something to another object.
  • “Join,” which means to bring two or more things together into a single unit or entity.
  • “Combine,” which means to blend two or more things together into a single entity or substance.

Overall, while there are many words and phrases that can be used to describe the act of beheading or cutting off someone’s head, the specific term that is used will depend on the context and the speaker’s intentions.

Mistakes To Avoid When Using The Spanish Word For “Behead”

When it comes to using the Spanish word for “behead,” there are several mistakes that non-native speakers often make. One of the most common is using the word “decapitar” instead of “degollar.” While both words can be translated to “behead,” “decapitar” specifically refers to the act of removing someone’s head with a sword or axe, while “degollar” refers to the act of cutting someone’s throat.

Another mistake that non-native speakers make is using the word “cortar” instead of “degollar.” While “cortar” can be translated to “cut,” it doesn’t convey the same violent and gruesome connotations as “degollar.”


In conclusion, we have explored the various ways to say “behead” in the Spanish language. We have learned that the most common translation is “decapitar,” but there are also regional variations such as “degollar” and “descabezar.” It is important to note that these words are not interchangeable, and their usage may depend on the context in which they are used.

Furthermore, we have discussed the importance of understanding cultural and linguistic differences when communicating with Spanish-speaking individuals. By incorporating these key phrases into your vocabulary, you can demonstrate a deeper understanding and respect for the language and its speakers.

Lastly, we encourage you to continue practicing and using these phrases in real-life conversations. Not only will this improve your language skills, but it will also foster a greater appreciation for the diversity of cultures and languages around the world.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority and He’s a seasoned innovator, harnessing the power of technology to connect cultures through language. His worse translation though is when he refers to “pancakes” as “flat waffles”.