[ ig-zek-yuh-tiv ]
/ ɪgˈzɛk yə tɪv /


a person or group of persons having administrative or supervisory authority in an organization.
the person or persons in whom the supreme executive power of a government is vested.
the executive branch of a government.


of, relating to, or suited for carrying out plans, duties, etc.: executive ability.
pertaining to or charged with the execution of laws and policies or the administration of public affairs: executive appointments; executive committees.
designed for, used by, or suitable for executives: an executive suite.

Nearby words

  1. executant,
  2. executary,
  3. execute,
  4. execution,
  5. executioner,
  6. executive agreement,
  7. executive branch,
  8. executive class,
  9. executive council,
  10. executive director

Origin of executive

1400–50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin execūtīvus, equivalent to Latin execūt(us) (past participle of ex(s)equī; see execute) + -īvus -ive

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

Examples from the Web for executive

British Dictionary definitions for executive


/ (ɪɡˈzɛkjʊtɪv) /


  1. a person or group responsible for the administration of a project, activity, or business
  2. (as modifier)executive duties; an executive position
  1. the branch of government responsible for carrying out laws, decrees, etc; administration
  2. any administrationCompare judiciary, legislature


having the function or purpose of carrying plans, orders, laws, etc, into practical effect
of, relating to, or designed for an executivethe executive suite
informal of the most expensive or exclusive typeexecutive housing; executive class
Derived Formsexecutively, adverb

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 executive



mid-15c., "performed, carried out;" 1640s, "of the branch of government that carries out the laws," from Middle French executif, from Latin executivus, from past participle stem of exequi (see execution). The noun in this sense is from 1776, as a branch of government. Meaning "businessman" is 1902 in American English. Executive privilege is attested by 1805, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper