I wonder what the idea (etymology) is behind formation of this word 处决.

Is it something like this:

to place + to decide = to decide a place for the convict?

  • 1
    note one of the meanings of 处, bkrs: 处: 4) punish; sentence, e.g.惩处, 把他处以死刑
    – user6065
    Aug 14, 2017 at 9:13

1 Answer 1


'' in '处决' means "to sentence/ to put to"

The basic meaning of the verb '' is 'to place', and 'to sentence' is an extended meaning.

  • "以極刑" = "to place someone in the situation of receive capital punishment"= "to sentence someone to capital punishment"

'' in '处决' means "to execute"

The basic meaning of the verb '' is 'to determine' and 'to execute' is an extended meaning.

  • to determine--> to put an end to--> to put to death

处决 as a compound word is a verb means 1.to decide a matter 2. to execute/ to put to death


  • 公司上下事情由他全權處決- He alone decides matters on all affairs of the company

  • 處決某人 - Execute someone.

  • So 處決 is always about "killing", it's not about "executing programm", right?
    – coobit
    Aug 14, 2017 at 16:18
  • 處決 someone always mean to put someone to death; executing program is 執行程序 in Chinese
    – Tang Ho
    Aug 14, 2017 at 18:53
  • it refers to the action/procedure to kill someone, not criminal charge/accusation, can be done by police or criminal. Aug 18, 2017 at 6:47
  • @coobit for exmaple, the criminal has been executed, may be translated to 罪犯已被 处决 / 处死 / 枪决 etc, the literal meaning is 罪犯已被执行(死刑), the word 死刑 is not neccesary in English.
    – xenophōn
    May 8, 2019 at 5:06
  • @coobit You may understand it in Chinese thoughts: 执行死刑 (execute the death sentence) is more idiomatic than 处决罪犯 (execute the criminal), also, 执行程序 (execute a programm) is similar. The word 执行 sometimes likes perform or run in English.
    – xenophōn
    May 8, 2019 at 5:13

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