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

The victims were shot execution-style and all but one had been shot multiple times and showed signs of bruising, the Hamilton County Coroner said in a report previously obtained by PEOPLE. Greg Hanlon, PEOPLE.com, "Little Boy Who Survived 2016 Massacre That Killed 8 Relatives Still Has Nightmares: 'Fear Has Him'," 19 Apr. 2018 According to the Post, the FBI collected communications between Cohen and his clients — including Trump — alongside his personal financial records, computer, and phone during its execution of the search warrant. Linley Sanders, Teen Vogue, "The FBI Raided Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen's Office," 10 Apr. 2018 The execution would have been the first to use fentanyl, which is at the forefront of the nation’s overdose crisis. Richard A. Oppel Jr., BostonGlobe.com, "Nevada execution is blocked after drug maker sues," 12 July 2018 The impulse is as noble as the execution is dreadful. Jason Kehe, WIRED, "Sci-Fi Invades Netflix—as They Both Invade Your Home," 9 July 2018 None of them just cannon-balled into Canton's Branin Natatorium. The solution is easy, the execution is difficult. Scott Springer, Cincinnati.com, "Springer: The secret to Division I sports success," 29 June 2018 Until recently, prosecutors could secure the death penalty by first convincing a majority of jurors, then a judge, that execution was an appropriate punishment. Rafael Olmeda, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Defense lawyers seek mercy for three convicted in Broward deputy's murder," 29 June 2018 The execution was the seventh this year in Texas, the country's most active death penalty state. NBC News, "Texas executes convicted killer whose attorneys proposed firing squad," 28 June 2018 The execution was the seventh this year in Texas, the country's most active death penalty state. CBS News, "Texas executes Danny Paul Bible for 1979 rape, murder in Houston," 28 June 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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Phrases Related to execution

stay of execution

Statistics for execution

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

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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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