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electrocute

[ih-lek-truh-kyoot]
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verb (used with object), e·lec·tro·cut·ed, e·lec·tro·cut·ing.
  1. to kill by electricity.
  2. to execute (a criminal) by electricity, as in an electric chair.

Origin of electrocute

An Americanism dating back to 1885–90; electro- + (exe)cute
Related formse·lec·tro·cu·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for electrocute

Historical Examples

  • The man in the control room had frustrated the attempt to electrocute us.

    Spacewrecked on Venus

    Neil R. Jones

  • And if you make any sudden moves you are liable to break a phone, electrocute yourself, or choke to death.

    Planet of the Damned

    Harry Harrison

  • I've gone through horrors, and the secrets I know could put dozens of people in prison, if not electrocute them.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • If the victim dies, please find out for me whether they behead, hang, or electrocute in Japan for capital punishment.

    A Yankee in the Far East

    George Hoyt Allen

  • And if you make any sudden moves you are liable to break a phone, electrocute yourself or choke to death.

    Sense of Obligation

    Henry Maxwell Dempsey (AKA Harry Harrison)


British Dictionary definitions for electrocute

electrocute

verb (tr)
  1. to kill as a result of an electric shock
  2. US to execute in the electric chair
Derived Formselectrocution, noun

Word Origin

C19: from electro- + (exe)cute
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for electrocute

v.

"execute by electricity," 1889, American English, from electro- + back half of execute. The method first was used Aug. 6, 1890, in New York state, on William Kemmler, convicted of the murder of his common-law wife. Sense involving accidental death is first recorded 1909. Electric chair is also first recorded 1889, which is when the first one was introduced in New York state as a humane alternative to hanging. Related: Electrocuted; electrocuting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper