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[ek-si-kyoo-shuh n] /ˌɛk sɪˈkyu ʃən/
the act or process of executing.
the state or fact of being executed.
the infliction of capital punishment or, formerly, of any legal punishment.
the process of performing a judgment or sentence of a court:
The judge stayed execution of the sentence pending appeal.
a mode or style of performance; technical skill, as in music:
The pianist's execution of the sonata was consummate.
effective, usually destructive action, or the result attained by it (usually preceded by do):
The grenades did rapid execution.
Law. a judicial writ directing the enforcement of a judgment.
Computers. the act of running, or the results of having run, a program or routine, or the performance of an instruction.
Origin of execution
1250-1300; Middle English execucioun < Latin execūtiōn- (stem of execūtiō). See executive, -ion
Related forms
executional, adjective
nonexecution, noun
preexecution, noun
reexecution, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for execution
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The execution is left entirely to your judgment and address.

  • The scheme was very simple, though I do not think it was at all difficult of execution.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • There was no opportunity for us to put our plans in execution, in going down channel.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Tried for piracy, probably, and the execution of some, if not all of us.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Scarce had that thought crossed him than he hastened to put it into execution.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
British Dictionary definitions for execution


the act or process of executing
the carrying out or undergoing of a sentence of death
the style or manner in which something is accomplished or performed; technique: as a pianist his execution is poor
  1. the enforcement of the judgment of a court of law
  2. the writ ordering such enforcement
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
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Word Origin and History for execution

mid-14c., from Anglo-French execucioun (late 13c.), Old French execucion "a carrying out" (of an order, etc.), from Latin executionem (nominative executio) "an accomplishing," noun of action from past participle stem of exequi/exsequi "to follow out," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + sequi "follow" (see sequel).

Sense of "act of putting to death" (mid-14c.) is from Middle English legal phrases such as don execution of deth "carry out a sentence of death." Literal meaning "action of carrying something into effect" is from late 14c. John McKay, coach of the woeful Tampa Bay Buccaneers (U.S. football team), when asked by a reporter what he thought of his team's execution, replied, "I think it would be a good idea." Executor and executioner were formerly used indifferently, because both are carrying out legal orders.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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