an official who inflicts capital punishment in pursuance of a legal warrant.
a person who executes an act, will, judgment, etc.

1555–65; execution + -er1

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To executioner
World English Dictionary
executioner (ˌɛksɪˈkjuːʃənə)
1.  an official charged with carrying out the death sentence passed upon a condemned person
2.  an assassin, esp one appointed by a political or criminal organization

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

"headsman," 1560s; "one who carries into effect," 1590s; agent noun from execution.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Bible Dictionary

Executioner definition

(Mark 6:27). Instead of the Greek word, Mark here uses a Latin word, speculator, which literally means "a scout," "a spy," and at length came to denote one of the armed bodyguard of the emperor. Herod Antipas, in imitation of the emperor, had in attendance on him a company of speculatores. They were sometimes employed as executioners, but this was a mere accident of their office. (See MARK, GOSPEL OF.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Even her hairdresser and her executioner published ghostwritten recollections.
At one point in his talk, the lively speaker brandished an executioner's knife
  that was nearly used on his own neck.
When they had both perished he bared his neck to the executioner.
The wants to be judge, jury and executioner when they have not even proven to
  be an adequate town crier.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature