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1. Biology Headless or lacking a clearly defined head: acephalous worms.
2. Having no leader.

[From Medieval Latin acephalus, from Greek akephalos : a-, without; see a-1 + kephalē, head; see -cephalous.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Biology) biology Also: acephalic having no head or one that is reduced and indistinct, as certain insect larvae
2. having or recognizing no ruler or leader
[C18: via Medieval Latin from Greek akephalos. See a-1, -cephalic]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(eɪˈsɛf ə ləs)

1. Also, a•ce•phal•ic (ˌeɪ səˈfæl ɪk) headless; lacking a distinct head.
2. without a leader or ruler.
[1725–35; < Greek aképhalos; see a-6, -cephalous]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


- A manuscript lacking a beginning could be called acephalous.
See also related terms for manuscript.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.acephalous - lacking a head or a clearly defined headacephalous - lacking a head or a clearly defined head; "acephalous worms"
biological science, biology - the science that studies living organisms
headless - not having a head or formed without a head ; "the headless horseman"; "brads are headless nails"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[əˈsefələs] ADJacéfalo
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
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References in classic literature ?
"Eaten him?" said the nightmare at his ear; and he sickened for an instant at the idea of rent, human remains absorbed and crushed into all that acephalous clockwork.
MY LAHORE: In a session titled 'Oral History My Lahore', eminent architect Nayyar Ali Dada termed today's Lahore acephalous by all aspects.
Discrepancies were particularly evident in the case of 'acephalous' or 'decentralized' states (Lentz 2006; Allman and Parker 2005).
Networks are obscure, ephemeral, clandestine, acephalous, and potentially subversive, built around nodes connected by "edges" to other nodes in a manner that produces activity without centralized control.
Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan all have long-standing customary governance organizations, which anthropologists describe as acephalous (headless).
Perhaps the most obvious example is the imposition of certain hierarchical forms of political organization--epitomized by the appointment of state-sanctioned "chiefs" and "Native Authorities"--amongst societies that were historically more acephalous and perhaps even more democratic in orientation (e.g.
Acephalous skeletons as witnesses of Pre-Pottery Neolithic North-South Levant.
The Chastising is the only text in D that is not acephalous, and it retains its address to a "[r]eligiouse sustir" (fol.
The acephalous logic is seen as the most proper to understanding social life and, consequently, to framing society.
The principal characteristic of the settlement pattern of these groups was dispersal; their sociopolitical organization was acephalous, that is, characterized by the absence of obedience to a political figure, a chief, who had the means to exercise his authority (Boccara 1999: 427).
They usually portray these institutions as representing particular 'stages' on the path from the presumed chaos of an acephalous society to the harmonious order of the fully developed rule of law as embodied in modern democratic states." (COHEN, 1997, p.