ex·​e·​cu·​tion | \ ˌek-si-ˈkyü-shən How to pronounce execution (audio) \

Definition of execution

1 : the act or process of executing : performance
2 : a putting to death especially as a legal penalty
3 : the process of enforcing a legal judgment (as against a debtor) also : a judicial writ directing such enforcement
4 : the act or mode or result of performance
5 archaic : effective or destructive action his brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution— William Shakespeare usually used with do as soon as day came, we went out to see what execution we had done— Daniel Defoe

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Examples of execution in a Sentence

He is in prison awaiting execution. The quarterback's execution of the play was perfect. skillful execution of the dance steps
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Recent Examples on the Web Cincinnati needs better execution from its entire offensive line this season. Tyler Dragon, The Enquirer, 9 June 2021 This process needs to be methodical, planned and agreed upon within every division in the company to ensure proper execution that is forward-thinking and based on consumer data. David Smith, Forbes, 8 June 2021 South Carolina's last execution took place in 2011, and its lethal injection drugs expired in 2013. Meg Kinnard, Star Tribune, 6 June 2021 Chris Paul sealed a Game 4 win with precise pick-and-roll execution, and his all-star backcourt partner Devin Booker finished off the Lakers with 47 points in the closeout victory. BostonGlobe.com, 4 June 2021 Changing results, though, still comes down to execution by a group, particularly on offense, lacking major league experience. Evan Grant, Dallas News, 3 June 2021 The current work does seem to be more celebratory both in style and execution. Seth Combs Writer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 May 2021 Cooper’s execution was stayed, multiple judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit questioned whether the evidence the state had on Cooper was planted. Washington Post, 29 May 2021 It’s not so much the execution but the feelings behind it. Patia Braithwaite, SELF, 28 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'execution.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of execution

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for execution

Middle English execucion, from Anglo-French, from Latin exsecution-, exsecutio, from exsequi to execute, from ex- + sequi to follow — more at sue

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Learn More About execution

Time Traveler for execution

Time Traveler

The first known use of execution was in the 14th century

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Statistics for execution

Last Updated

11 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Execution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/execution. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for execution



English Language Learners Definition of execution

: the act of killing someone especially as punishment for a crime
: the act of doing or performing something


ex·​e·​cu·​tion | \ ˌek-sə-ˈkyü-shən How to pronounce execution (audio) \

Kids Definition of execution

1 : the act of killing someone as a legal penalty
2 : the act of doing or performing something execution of a plan


ex·​e·​cu·​tion | \ ˌek-si-ˈkyü-shən How to pronounce execution (audio) \

Legal Definition of execution

1 : the act or process of executing witnessed the execution of the will
2 : a putting to death as fulfillment of a judicial death sentence
3 : the process of enforcing a judgment (as against a debtor) also : a judicial writ (as fieri facias) by which an officer is empowered to carry a judgment into effect — see also levy


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