Word Origin & History
mid-14c., from O.Fr. execution, from L. executionem, agent noun from exequi/exsequi "to follow out," from ex- "out" + sequi "follow" (see sequel
). Sense of "act of putting to death" is from M.E. legal phrases such as don execution of deth "carry out a sentence of death."
Literal meaning "action of carrying something into effect" is from late 14c. John McKay, coach of the woeful Tampa Bay Buccaneers (U.S. football team), when asked by a reporter what he thought of his team's execution, replied, "I think it would be a good idea." Executor and executioner were formerly used indifferently, since both are carrying out legal orders.