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capital punishment

punishment by death for a crime; death penalty.
Origin of capital punishment
1575-85 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for capital-punishment
Historical Examples
  • The capital-punishment man was the Marquis of Beccaria, and that of makes a great difference in Europe.

    Stories of Invention Edward E. Hale
British Dictionary definitions for capital-punishment

capital punishment

the punishment of death for a crime; death penalty
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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capital-punishment in Culture

capital punishment definition

The death penalty for a crime.

capital punishment definition

The infliction of the death penalty as punishment for certain crimes. (See capital offense.)

Note: In the United States, capital punishment has been an extremely controversial issue on legal, moral, and ethical grounds. In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was not, in principle, cruel and unusual punishment (and not, therefore, unconstitutional), but that its implementation through existing state laws was unconstitutional. In 1976, the Supreme Court again ruled that the death penalty was not unconstitutional, though a mandatory death penalty for any crime was. Thirty-nine states now practice the death penalty.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Difficulty index for capital punishment

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