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ex·​e·​cut·​able ˈek-si-ˌkyü-tə-bəl How to pronounce executable (audio)
: capable of being executed
an executable plan/strategy
specifically, computers : consisting of or containing coded instructions that can be run without using an assembler or compiler
executable code
A compiler needs to run only once, because it creates an executable file. Tom Campbell
: having execution (see execution sense 2) as a legal penalty : punishable by death
The report says that the scope of executable offenses is growing beyond internationally accepted boundaries.Betsy Pisik


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plural executables
: a set of computer instructions (such as a program (see program sense 6a)) that has been prepared so that it can be run by a CPU without additional processing
Though it will no longer infect anyone, running a text file as an executable can crash the operating system.Oliver Kaven
The [hacker] group relied on users' familiarity with the Windows folder icons and the File Explorer interface to dupe victims into running malicious executables.Liam Tung

Examples of executable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Opening the same file in a hex editor—a tool for analyzing and forensically investigating binary files—showed that a combination of tabs, spaces, and new lines were arranged in a way that encoded executable code. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 30 Jan. 2024 One is that no executable code ever touches the hard drive, a technique known as fileless malware that hampers detection by antivirus and other types of endpoint protection software. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 6 Dec. 2023 Doers contribute practical and constructive insights, shaping ideas into executable plans. Nell Derick Debevoise, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 In contrast, Ethereum transactions contain executable code for creating smart contracts or self-executing contracts and applications built on top of them. The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Aug. 2023 The code might be executable, but this doesn’t also equate to the code doing the right things. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 17 July 2023 The researchers then used a more advanced AI service called Codex to develop other types of malware, including a reverse shell and scripts for port scanning, sandbox detection, and compiling their Python code to a Windows executable. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 6 Jan. 2023 The first is to view Harry as someone who isn’t terribly good at coming up with executable show ideas — which, well, is probably true. Vulture, 28 June 2023 Both offer autocomplete suggestions as a programmer writes code or suggest executable instructions from simple natural-language phrases. IEEE Spectrum, 14 Mar. 2023
Someone could even make a batch script or tiny executable that enables or disables the touchscreen on the fly. Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica, 11 May 2023 Viasat wrote: The analysis in the SentinelLabs report regarding the ukrop binary is consistent with the facts in our report—specifically, SentinelLabs identifies the destructive executable that was run on the modems using a legitimate management command as Viasat previously described. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 31 Mar. 2022 In the case of the Trojanized Windows versions, researchers from CheckPoint said, the attackers used an MSI executable signed with 3CX’s key to load a malicious file named ffmmpeg.dll. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 30 Mar. 2023 The executable in question is also an installer that comes with a license agreement of its own. Chris Smith, BGR, 25 July 2021 The game’s executable tossed out a D3DDRED2 error, which caused Windows to spawn a LiveKernel 141 (generic hardware component failure) event. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, 29 Sep. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'executable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



execute + -able


derivative of executable entry 1

First Known Use


1645, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1977, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of executable was in 1645

Dictionary Entries Near executable

Cite this Entry

“Executable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/executable. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

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