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

verb (used without object), ex·e·cut·ed, ex·e·cut·ing.

to perform or accomplish something, as an assigned task.
Sports. to perform properly the fundamental moves or mechanics of a sport, game, position, or particular play; show smoothness in necessary skills: We just didn't execute defensively.

Nearby words

  1. execrative,
  2. execratory,
  3. executable,
  4. executant,
  5. executary,
  6. execution,
  7. executioner,
  8. executive,
  9. executive agreement,
  10. executive branch

Origin of execute

1350–1400; Middle English executen < Old French executer < Medieval Latin execūtāre, derivative of Latin execūtus, past participle of ex(s)equī to follow up, carry out (punishment), execute; see ex-1, sequence

Related forms

Synonym study

2. See perform. 3. See kill1.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for execute

British Dictionary definitions for execute


verb (tr)

to put (a condemned person) to death; inflict capital punishment upon
to carry out; complete; perform; doto execute an order
to perform; accomplish; effectto execute a pirouette
to make or produceto execute a drawing
to carry into effect (a judicial sentence, the law, etc); enforce
law to comply with legal formalities in order to render (a deed, etc) effective, as by signing, sealing, and delivering
to sign (a will) in the presence of witnesses and in accordance with other legal formalities
to carry out the terms of (a contract, will, etc)
Derived Formsexecuter, noun

Word Origin for execute

C14: from Old French executer, back formation from executeur executor

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 execute



late 14c., "to carry into effect," from Old French executer (14c.), from Medieval Latin executare, from Latin execut-/exsecut-, past participle stem of exequi/exsequi "to follow out" (see execution). Meaning "to inflict capital punishment" is from late 15c. Related: Executed; executing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper