American English

Definition of execution noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable, countable] the act of killing someone, especially as a legal punishment He faced execution by hanging for murder. Over 200 executions were carried out last year.
  2. 2[uncountable] (formal) the act of doing a piece of work, performing a duty, or putting a plan into action He had failed in the execution of his duty. The idea was good, but the execution was poor. The company is liable for any damage caused by faulty execution of the building work.
  3. 3[uncountable] (formal) skill in performing or making something, such as a piece of music or work of art Her execution of the piano piece was perfect.
  4. 4[uncountable] (law) the act of following the instructions in a legal document, especially those in someone's will The lawyers are proceeding with the execution of her mother's will.
  5. Idioms
    a stay of execution (law)
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    a legal order to delay the execution of a criminal to grant a stay of execution
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: execution