ex·​ec·​u·​tive | \ig-ˈze-k(y)ə-tiv, -kyü-\

Definition of executive 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or relating to the execution of the laws and the conduct of public and national affairs

b : belonging to the branch of government that is charged with such powers as diplomatic representation, superintendence of the execution of the laws, and appointment of officials and that usually has some power over legislation (as through veto) — compare judicial, legislative

2a : designed for or relating to execution or carrying into effect executive board

b : having administrative or managerial responsibility executive director

3 : of or relating to an executive the executive offices



Definition of executive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the executive branch of a government also : the person or persons who constitute the executive magistracy of a state

2 : a directing or controlling office of an organization

3 : one that exercises administrative or managerial control

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Examples of executive in a Sentence


She has good executive skills. He has an executive position in the company. In the U.S., the President is the head of the executive branch of government.


The television network's executives decided not to air the controversial show. The President is the chief executive of the U.S. matters of policy controlled by the executive
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

That’s no surprise to Michael Beaudry, executive vice president for the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA). Brett Martin, House Beautiful, "Is Your Renovation Actually Worth It?," 13 July 2018 William Fleischli, executive vice president of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association and Illinois Association of Convenience Stores, said efforts already under way to educate youth about the dangers of smoking should continue to be the focus. Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, "Elgin City Council to consider raising minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21," 9 July 2018 Additionally, last year’s findings (which placed Harmon at number five, too) called out that his high rate is also due, in part, to his role as the executive producer of the series. Megan Stein, Country Living, "'NCIS' Star Mark Harmon Is Officially One of the Highest Paid Actors on TV," 30 Oct. 2018 Fortunately at this evening's Emmys red carpet, executive producer and director Shawn Levy offered an update on the next season. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Stranger Things 3 Will Be "The Biggest Season Yet"," 17 Sep. 2018 Variety reports that Alan Wake is being adapted to a TV show, with writer and longtime Remedy collaborator Sam Lake involved as an executive producer. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Katamari Damacy finally rolls onto PCs, Tencent's snowboarding battle royale," 14 Sep. 2018 Christoph Muller, Kerstin Schmidbauer and Marcel Hartges will produce The Collini Case for Constantin, with Constantin's Martin Moszkowicz as executive producer. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "Constantin Film Greenlights Courtroom Thriller 'The Collini Case'," 13 July 2018 Travis, who began his tenure as Dunkin’s CEO in 2009, will remain with the company and work on international development while also serving as executive chairman. Sarah Gray, Fortune, "Dunkin' Brands Names a New CEO Who Will Take Over 'Effective Immediately'," 11 July 2018 Trump may have also been drawn to Kavanaugh’s expansive view of executive power in other areas. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "A Watershed Moment in American History," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The 13th annual event, sponsored by Fiji Water and American Express among others, honored women across the industry, from artists and executives to the women who created and implemented the Music Modernization Act. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "Strong and Influential Females Were Recognized at Billboard's 2018 Women in Music Event," 7 Dec. 2018 Qualcomm executives made the argument that the new enhancements to the Adreno GPU, together with the improvements in the Spectra DSP, would make video viewing more preferable on a smartphone than a laptop or computer monitor. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Watch the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855's best new features in action," 6 Dec. 2018 As had previously been reported by the Wall Street Journal, some executives did consider selling access to user data, ultimately opting against it. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook’s morale problem is getting worse," 6 Dec. 2018 Since he was sent by Renault SA of France to turn around a near-bankrupt Nissan Motor Co. two decades ago, Ghosn’s star-level pay has drawn attention since executives in Japan tend to be paid far less than their international counterparts. Yuri Kageyama, The Seattle Times, "Brazilian consul: Arrested Ghosn is healthy, wants thrillers," 5 Dec. 2018 Each of the items is beyond adorable, and perfect for hanging out in your Dreamhouse, riding around in a pink convertible, or pursuing a career as a veterinarian/business executive/astronaut/rockstar. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "NCLA Launched a Collection of Barbie-Inspired Beauty Products," 16 Nov. 2018 The two women will also co-own the show and executive produce it. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Jennifer Aniston Is Making a TV Comeback with Reese Witherspoon," 25 Oct. 2018 Several top business executives have also canceled plans to attend, as has the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde. Suzan Fraser, Fox News, "Man linked to Saudi prince at consulate when writer vanished," 18 Oct. 2018 After several attempts to correct the program, Amazon executives eventually lost interest in 2017. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Amazon Fired Its Resume-Reading AI for Sexism," 10 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'executive.' 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 executive


1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1774, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for executive

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for executive

The first known use of executive was in 1649

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More Definitions for executive


ex·​ec·​u·​tive | \ig-ˈze-kyə-tiv \

Kids Definition of executive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : fitted for or relating to the managing or directing of things Claudia showed the executive ability of a corporation president.— E. L. Konigsburg, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

2 : relating to the carrying out of the law and the conduct of public affairs the executive branch of government



Kids Definition of executive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a person who manages or directs a sales executive

2 : the executive branch of a government



Legal Definition of executive 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to the execution or carrying out of laws serving a warrant is an executive function especially : belonging to the branch of government that is charged with such powers as diplomatic representation, overseeing the execution of laws, and appointment of officials — see also administrative — compare judicial, legislative

2a : of or relating to execution

b : having administrative or managerial responsibility an executive director

3 : of, relating to, or issued by an executive an executive pardon



Legal Definition of executive (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the executive branch of a government — compare judiciary, legislature

b : the person or persons making up that branch — see also governor, mayor, president

2 : a person who exercises administrative or managerial control

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