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[ek-si-kyoo-shuh-ner] /ˌɛk sɪˈkyu ʃə nər/
an official who inflicts capital punishment in pursuance of a legal warrant.
a person who executes an act, will, judgment, etc.
Origin of executioner
1555-65; execution + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for executioner
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He told the executioner, he was a strong man, and Prayed to be put out of misery as soon as possible.

  • St. Bartholomew and the executioner with the knife to fulfil the martyr.

    A Tramp Abroad, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • “Oh, by a new method, which I have invented myself,” declared the executioner.

  • Lafemas looked at the Governor, and the Governor at the executioner, and so round.

    Richelieu, v. 2/3 G. P. R. James
  • “You might leave me your card,” said the Dodo to the executioner, pressing a small coin into his hand.

  • The executioner commanded them to put off their clothes, which they refused.

    A Book of Quaker Saints Lucy Violet Hodgkin
  • executioner of thy country, read the decree of thy punishment!

    Zanoni Edward Bulwer Lytton
  • And why would an executioner that is higher again in the profession be checked.

    Three Wonder Plays Lady I. A. Gregory
  • For what's the object of being an executioner if one can't execute?

British Dictionary definitions for executioner


an official charged with carrying out the death sentence passed upon a condemned person
an assassin, esp one appointed by a political or criminal organization
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 executioner

"headsman," 1560s; "one who carries into effect," 1590s; agent noun from execution.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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executioner in the Bible

(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
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