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

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
Recent Examples on the Web Between the announcement to the execution date, Tesla stock soared 60%, jumping from $1,300 to $2,000 per share. Q.ai - Powering A Personal Wealth Movement, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 The execution date comes decades after he was convicted of capital murder for the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend Faith Hall. Ivana Hrynkiw | Ihrynkiw@al.com, al, 26 July 2022 The clerk’s office announced the scheduled execution date of Miller, who was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in the slayings, which occurred in Shelby County in 1999. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 20 July 2022 Then the court would decide whether to set an execution date, which would likely be 35 days later. Chelsea Curtis, The Arizona Republic, 19 July 2022 Officials have objected to the procedure because of Gonzales’s approaching execution date. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 12 July 2022 But the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which let Gonzales get evaluated for the organ donation, has objected to the efforts because of his impending execution date, his lawyers wrote. Dakin Andone, CNN, 11 July 2022 Ultimately, he wasn’t given another hearing, but a new execution date that same month. Brenna Ehrlich, Rolling Stone, 15 June 2022 Death-row inmate Kareem Jackson’s execution date has again been postponed because of Ohio’s ongoing troubles with getting lethal-injection drugs. cleveland, 16 May 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Execution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/execution. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for execution


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

More from Merriam-Webster on execution

Nglish: Translation of execution for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of execution for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about execution


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