[ek-si-kyoo-shuh n]
See more synonyms for execution on Thesaurus.com
  1. the act or process of executing.
  2. the state or fact of being executed.
  3. the infliction of capital punishment or, formerly, of any legal punishment.
  4. the process of performing a judgment or sentence of a court: The judge stayed execution of the sentence pending appeal.
  5. a mode or style of performance; technical skill, as in music: The pianist's execution of the sonata was consummate.
  6. effective, usually destructive action, or the result attained by it (usually preceded by do): The grenades did rapid execution.
  7. Law. a judicial writ directing the enforcement of a judgment.
  8. 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 formsex·e·cu·tion·al, adjectivenon·ex·e·cu·tion, nounpre·ex·e·cu·tion, nounre·ex·e·cu·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for execution

Contemporary Examples of execution

Historical Examples of execution

  • 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


  1. the act or process of executing
  2. the carrying out or undergoing of a sentence of death
  3. the style or manner in which something is accomplished or performed; techniqueas 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

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