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[ig-zek-yuh-tiv] /ɪgˈzɛk yə tɪv/
a person or group of persons having administrative or supervisory authority in an organization.
the person or persons in whom the supreme executive power of a government is vested.
the executive branch of a government.
of, relating to, or suited for carrying out plans, duties, etc.:
executive ability.
pertaining to or charged with the execution of laws and policies or the administration of public affairs:
executive appointments; executive committees.
designed for, used by, or suitable for executives:
an executive suite.
Origin of executive
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin execūtīvus, equivalent to Latin execūt(us) (past participle of ex(s)equī; see execute) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
executively, adverb
executiveness, noun
nonexecutive, adjective, noun
proexecutive, adjective
semiexecutive, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for executive
  • My father, an executive with a consumer products company, said I should start putting on magic shows and charge for them.
  • To me, it seemed like a no-brainer for any executive who loves baseball.
  • Nine schools stand out for their custom courses in executive education.
  • It seemed as if everyone rejoiced at the election of our first chief executive except the man himself.
  • Learn more about this acclaimed cookbook author and executive chef.
  • As chief operating officer, the executive director is responsible for the administration of all operations and programs.
  • Corporate scandals and falling share prices have forced companies to rethink their executive-compensation schemes.
  • When a bill is approved by both chambers, a law is enacted and sent to the executive for its promulgation.
  • He can no longer claim executive privilege and withhold meeting minutes.
  • As you probably know, the president handed down an executive order .
British Dictionary definitions for executive


  1. a person or group responsible for the administration of a project, activity, or business
  2. (as modifier): executive duties, an executive position
  1. the branch of government responsible for carrying out laws, decrees, etc; administration
  2. any administration Compare judiciary, legislature
having the function or purpose of carrying plans, orders, laws, etc, into practical effect
of, relating to, or designed for an executive: the executive suite
(informal) of the most expensive or exclusive type: executive housing, executive class
Derived Forms
executively, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for executive

mid-15c., "performed, carried out;" 1640s, "of the branch of government that carries out the laws," from Middle French executif, from Latin executivus, from past participle stem of exequi (see execution). The noun in this sense is from 1776, as a branch of government. Meaning "businessman" is 1902 in American English. Executive privilege is attested by 1805, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for executive



Stylish; luxurious; costly; posh: executive housing/ executive bus/ executive class (1970s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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executive in Technology

operating system
The command interpreter or shell for an operating system. The term is used especially around mainframes and probably derived from UNIVAC's archaic EXEC 2 and current (in 2000) EXEC 8 operating systems.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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