[ ih-lek-truh-kyoot ]
/ ɪˈlɛk trəˌkyut /

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.

Nearby words

  1. electroconvulsive,
  2. electroconvulsive therapy,
  3. electrocorticogram,
  4. electrocorticography,
  5. electrocratic,
  6. electrocution,
  7. electrocyte,
  8. electrode,
  9. electrode efficiency,
  10. electrode potential

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

Examples from the Web for electrocute

British Dictionary definitions for electrocute


/ (ɪˈlɛktrəˌkjuːt) /

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