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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.]


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]


(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]


- A manuscript lacking a beginning could be called acephalous.
See also related terms for manuscript.
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"


[əˈsefələs] ADJacéfalo
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References in classic literature ?
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.
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.
Acephalous skeletons as witnesses of Pre-Pottery Neolithic North-South Levant.
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).
The first two types of segmentary or acephalous groups/tribes with and without rulers, were family, lineage or clan based, and regulated their affairs under unwritten rules that were partly religious and partly magic by origin.
such movements are the characteristic form of resistance among small, divided, acephalous societies that have no central institutions that might help coordinate joint action .
UPC nationalism intersected quite powerfully with yearnings for 'independence' or autonomy that resonated with the chiefly Bamileke but eluded the relatively acephalous communities of the Mungo region.
Many virtues are attributed to subak, the irrigation associations; they all convey a down-to-earth picture of egalitarianism, collectivism, consensus-oriented and acephalous goal-oriented associations of individual cultivators who were, at the same time, 'private persons' (see, for example, Geertz 1980:51).
But the imposing, acephalous beast was also freakishly sui generis--an unnamable being imaginatively retrieved, perhaps, from previously undisturbed depths.
The Mole-Dagbane kingdoms (Mamprusis, Dagombas, and Mossis), from the northeast and strongly hierarchical, settled in the northern area of Ghana between the 13th-15th centuries, and dominated the acephalous groups installed there.