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 doas 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 Mirror and the Light picks up in 1536, following the execution of Anne Boleyn, and is due, naturally, to end with Cromwell's death four years later in 1540. Jeva Lange, TheWeek, "19 books to read in 2020," 7 Jan. 2020 The news that the president had summarily ordered the execution of Maj. Brianna Provenzano, refinery29.com, "Elizabeth Warren’s Iran Comments Are A Serious Warning Against War," 6 Jan. 2020 Iran’s conventional military was decimated by the execution of its old officer class during the 1979 Islamic Revolution and later by sanctions. Amir Vahdat And Jon Gambrell, SFChronicle.com, "Seasoned general emerges as successor to leader killed in US air strike," 4 Jan. 2020 Offensive coordinators and quarterbacks are simply too good for a defensive coordinator to rely on the execution of a simple scheme. John Owning, Dallas News, "4 coordinators in the NFL playoffs who the Cowboys should consider in their coaching search," 3 Jan. 2020 In July, at the execution of her sentence, Hunter allowed her body to go limp into the arms of a deputy who had to drag Hunter from the courtroom. The Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "2010-2019: Greater Cincinnati stories of the decade," 30 Dec. 2019 These images will also help to understand the brothers Van Eyck's techniques and the changes carried out in the course of the successive execution of this unique masterpiece. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "How AI helps unlock the secrets of Old Master and modernist paintings," 27 Dec. 2019 One man and his pregnant wife were shot in 2011 in a ministry’s courtyard, and the execution was shown on closed-circuit television, according to a new book on Chinese espionage. New York Times, "U.S. Secretly Expelled Chinese Officials Suspected of Spying After Breach of Military Base," 15 Dec. 2019 Wiley’s sister, Margaret Robertson, and her husband both watched the execution through a window in an adjacent witness room. Fox News, "Texas inmate who murdered prison shoe factory supervisor is executed," 12 Dec. 2019

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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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

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Execution.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/execution. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for execution


How to pronounce execution (audio)

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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