verb (used with object), e·lec·tro·cut·ed, e·lec·tro·cut·ing.

to kill by electricity.
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. 2019

Related Words for electrocute


Examples from the Web for electrocute

Historical Examples of electrocute

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

  • 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


verb (tr)

to kill as a result of an electric shock
US to execute in the electric chair
Derived Formselectrocution, noun

Word Origin for electrocute

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

"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