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The Devil's Dictionary:    

Definition of Executive

  EXECUTIVE   noun
An officer of the Government, whose duty it is to enforce the wishes of the legislative power until such time as the judicial department shall be pleased to pronounce them invalid and of no effect.  Following is an extract from an old book entitled, The Lunarian Astonished -- Pfeiffer & Co., Boston, 1803:
  LUNARIAN:  Then when your Congress has passed a law it goes       directly to the Supreme Court in order that it may at once be       known whether it is constitutional?
  TERRESTRIAN:  O no; it does not require the approval of the       Supreme Court until having perhaps been enforced for many       years somebody objects to its operation against himself -- I       mean his client.  The President, if he approves it, begins to       execute it at once.
  LUNARIAN:  Ah, the executive power is a part of the legislative.       Do your policemen also have to approve the local ordinances       that they enforce?
  TERRESTRIAN:  Not yet -- at least not in their character of       constables.  Generally speaking, though, all laws require the       approval of those whom they are intended to restrain.
  LUNARIAN:  I see.  The death warrant is not valid until signed by       the murderer.
  TERRESTRIAN:  My friend, you put it too strongly; we are not so       consistent.
  LUNARIAN:  But this system of maintaining an expensive judicial       machinery to pass upon the validity of laws only after they       have long been executed, and then only when brought before the       court by some private person -- does it not cause great       confusion?
  TERRESTRIAN:  It does.
  LUNARIAN:  Why then should not your laws, previously to being       executed, be validated, not by the signature of your       President, but by that of the Chief Justice of the Supreme       Court?
  TERRESTRIAN:  There is no precedent for any such course.
  LUNARIAN:  Precedent.  What is that?
  TERRESTRIAN:  It has been defined by five hundred lawyers in three       volumes each.  So how can any one know?

Devil's Dictionarydefinition from:
The Devil's Dictionary
by Ambrose Bierce, 1911

Regular definition:
???zekjut?v n. & adj. --n. 1 a person or body with managerial or administrative responsibility in a business organization etc.; a senior businessman. 2 a branch of a government or organization concerned with executing laws, agreements, etc., or with other administration or management. --adj. 1 concerned with executing laws, agreements, etc., or with other administration or management. 2 relating to or having the function of executing. °executive session US a usu. private meeting of a legislative body for executive business. °°executively adv. [med.L executivus (as EXECUTE)]

Last updated: 9/3/2011 12:48:30