ex·​e·​cu·​tion | \ ˌek-si-ˈkyü-shən \

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

What remains to be seen is what his actual execution will look like. Li Zhou, Vox, "Jeff Flake says he’ll block judicial nominees until Mueller protection bill gets a vote," 15 Nov. 2018 The high court, without comment, rejected a petition from Daniel Acker's attorneys to stay his execution on Thursday afternoon. Fox News, "The Latest: Supreme Court won't stop Texas execution," 27 Sep. 2018 However, these claims ignore the widespread reports of its often flawed execution. Ulrich Kaiser, Ars Technica, "Google: Sorry professor, old Beethoven recordings on YouTube are copyrighted," 3 Sep. 2018 Hays was sentenced to death and his 1997 execution in Alabama's electric chair was the first in the state since 1913 for a white-on-black crime. Leada Gore, AL.com, "'Last lynching in America' shocked Mobile in 1981, bankrupted the KKK," 26 Apr. 2018 The execution of those decisions, however, is a far cry from what is happening now. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Trump Volatility Risks," 20 Dec. 2018 For small trades, the benefits of saving money on commissions outweigh any gains from price improvement, said Chris Nagy, managing principal of KOR Group, a firm that studies quality of trade executions. Lisa Beilfuss, WSJ, "Why ‘Free Trading’ on Robinhood Isn’t Really Free," 9 Nov. 2018 The federal government still allows the death penalty — though executions are rare compared to those carried out by states. Jennifer Hijazi, Vox, "Trump wants to see the death penalty come “into vogue” again. He’s wanted that for years.," 28 Oct. 2018 Speculative execution was one of the ways that the microprocessor, and by extension, the PC industry, achieved record sales, noted panelist Jon Masters, a computer architect at Red Hat. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Solving Spectre and Meltdown may ultimately require an entirely new type of processor," 21 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for execution

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for execution

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

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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 \

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 \

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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Comments on execution

What made you want to look up execution? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a complex dispute or argument

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