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[ek-si-kyoot] /ˈɛk sɪˌkyut/
verb (used with object), executed, executing.
to carry out; accomplish:
to execute a plan or order.
to perform or do:
to execute a maneuver; to execute a gymnastic feat.
to inflict capital punishment on; put to death according to law.
to murder; assassinate.
to produce in accordance with a plan or design:
a painting executed by an unknown artist.
to perform or play (a piece of music).
  1. to give effect or force to (a law, decree, judicial sentence, etc.).
  2. to carry out the terms of (a will).
  3. to transact or carry through (a contract, mortgage, etc.) in the manner prescribed by law; complete and give validity to (a legal instrument) by fulfilling the legal requirements, as by signing or sealing.
Computers. to run (a program or routine) or to carry out (an instruction in a program).
verb (used without object), executed, executing.
to perform or accomplish something, as an assigned task.
Sports. to perform properly the fundamental moves or mechanics of a sport, game, position, or particular play; show smoothness in necessary skills:
We just didn't execute defensively.
Origin of execute
1350-1400; Middle English executen < Old French executer < Medieval Latin execūtāre, derivative of Latin execūtus, past participle of ex(s)equī to follow up, carry out (punishment), execute; see ex-1, sequence
Related forms
executable, adjective
executer, noun
nonexecutable, adjective
outexecute, verb (used with object), outexecuted, outexecuting.
preexecute, verb (used with object), preexecuted, preexecuting.
reexecute, verb (used with object), reexecuted, reexecuting.
unexecutable, adjective
unexecuted, adjective
unexecuting, adjective
well-executed, adjective
1. achieve, complete, finish, consummate. 7a. enforce, administer.
Synonym Study
2. See perform. 3. See kill1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for execute


verb (transitive)
to put (a condemned person) to death; inflict capital punishment upon
to carry out; complete; perform; do: to execute an order
to perform; accomplish; effect: to execute a pirouette
to make or produce: to execute a drawing
to carry into effect (a judicial sentence, the law, etc); enforce
(law) to comply with legal formalities in order to render (a deed, etc) effective, as by signing, sealing, and delivering
to sign (a will) in the presence of witnesses and in accordance with other legal formalities
to carry out the terms of (a contract, will, etc)
Derived Forms
executer, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French executer, back formation from executeurexecutor
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 execute

late 14c., "to carry into effect," from Old French executer (14c.), from Medieval Latin executare, from Latin execut-/exsecut-, past participle stem of exequi/exsequi "to follow out" (see execution). Meaning "to inflict capital punishment" is from late 15c. Related: Executed; executing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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execute in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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