The headlines on the Huffington Post reads
Grandfather Of Australian Boy Pictured Holding 'DECAPITATED' Head In Syria Tells Of Shock
Decapitated? It's used as an adjective here. That seems incorrect usage to me.
How? This way...
decapitate (verb) - Cut off the head of (someone)
The sentence could be - A cruel militant decapitates a soldier. This means he cuts off the head of the soldier.
So, once this brutal procedure is done, the head is separated from the body and then we can use the adjective decapitated. But then, it is the body that takes the adjective and not the head. That's how OxfordDictionaries defines the adjective decapitated in its example:
a decapitated body
So, it is decapitated body and not the head. What do we write a beheaded body or a beheaded head?
I would not have any problem with this headline (hypothetical)
A shocking image of boy holding severed head with decapitated body lying nearby in the pool of blood
To prove my point further, I would cite here something authentic that I as a doctor have read and used.
Let's take the word 'amputate'. It means to remove an organ from the body. It's a surgical procedure to save someone's life. For instance, if you have a diabetic foot, to prevent it spreading further, surgeons amputate that foot and the patient is saved. In this case, after surgery, we have amputated foot and not amputated patient! The latter simply means dead patient! Because you amputate a limb from the patient's body.
In the same way, we may have amputated limbs and not amputated body. If the surgery has been recently performed, we say, "That's the patient of diabetic foot, operated
amputated." Yes, looking at the cut foot we say, "That's the foot, amputated." That is because the surgeon did not amputate the patient, but his foot. :)
Again, back to the question, if you cut off the head, the process is decapitating. After decapitating, you have severed head and decapitated body not decapitated head. So, would you confirm that the usage of the word is incorrect. Or am I missing something?
Thanks for reading! :)