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DefinedMeaning talk:death penalty (376982)

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Punishment by death, originally by beheading.

How is it known that it was originally by beheading? Besides, it is not essential. therefore I propose just "Punishment by death". Andres 20:06, 5 November 2006 (CET)
The synonym capital punishment" has as its original meaning 'beheading'. But that original meaning should be in another DM alomg with beheading. Andres 20:10, 5 November 2006 (CET)
Instead of saying "originally" why don't we put how it is used today. I know today (at least in America) the majority of death penalties are done with lethal injection. If it's different in other countries, maybe it's not worth mentioning. -Rappo 20:52, 5 November 2006 (CET)
Yes, the original use definitely shouldn't be mentioned here. I repeat: this "originally" concerns the original meaning of the expression capital punishment, not death penalty.
But maybe it should be mentioned that this is a punishment be legal authorities. Then another DM should be created for a broader concept including, for instance, punishment in mafia and others secret societies. Andres 21:20, 5 November 2006 (CET)
I don't think death by organized crime would be called "death penalty." That's more like assassination, or just murder. But yes, I do think it is important to say that it is done legally. -Rappo 21:28, 5 November 2006 (CET)
The members of such organizations might use this expression. Of course, for them it's legitimate. I don't use if the English expression death penalty is used in such cases but the Estonian expression surmanuhtlus definitely is. Andres 21:57, 5 November 2006 (CET)
Okay, it's not so in English. -Rappo 22:35, 5 November 2006 (CET)
I think neither don they use the words assassination and murder. Perhaps mafia is not the best example; better would be a clandestine revolutionary party. What expression would they use instead of "death penalty"? Andres 22:56, 5 November 2006 (CET)
A revolutionary group would organize a coup to carry out an assassination. The word "death penalty" is a purely legal term in English and only refers to those that have been sentenced to death in court. -Rappo 02:11, 6 November 2006 (CET)
I guess you didn't understand my point. A clandestine group (say, its "revolutionary court") can sentence to death someone from its own members, e.g. for betrayal. This is very similar to the legal death penalty (a quasi-legal act, though from the point of view of the state this is a murder). How would they call it in English instead of "death penalty"? Andres 02:32, 6 November 2006 (CET)
I have no clue as to the specifics of that kind of terminology :P However, it still seems as though "death penalty" is referring to a sentence of some sort in your case. It just sounds a little farfetched - how many organizations form committees to formally sentence their traitors to death using the terminology "death penalty"... I don't think it's of any worth to note that (for English). -Rappo 03:12, 6 November 2006 (CET)
I don't know about the specific uses of this English expression. But what I mean is as follows. The concept of death penalty connotes the legitimacy of a death sentence. So, in clandestine groups that don't recognize the legitimacy of the state, the term death penalty might be used when the sentence is done by an organ considered to be legitimate by the group in question. So I don't say how many groups could use this expression in English. But, by the very least, if in any other language the corresponding word is used in such a situation, would it not be translate to English as death penalty? What I mean is that maybe in the definition legitimacy should be mentioned instead of legality. If the right to sentence to death is usurped by clandestine communist parties (I know of such cases) then it could also be said that it is usurped by states (for example, in the communist Russia and the Soviet Union, death sentences were made by "troikas" that didn't have full legality). I don't think that the example of clandestine groups is far-fetched in itself. I think that what counts is what power people consider to be legitimate. For example, it is hard to distinguish between the legitimate state and guerilla groups fighting for an old state or for a new state. Sometimes a state is clandestine for fifty years as this was in the case of the Republic of Estonia. Andres 03:40, 6 November 2006 (CET)

Another issue is that the English expression "death penalty" seems to be ambiguous between the execution and the court sentence of execution (for the latter see [1]). Andres 02:59, 6 November 2006 (CET)

The word "death penalty" in English isn't used to refer to the actual act. The consequence of the death penalty, the court sentence, is just plainly execution (euphemistically called lethal injection in the United States, referring to the poison that stops a person's bodily functions killing them "painlessly"). -Rappo 03:12, 6 November 2006 (CET)
This might be true. However, most English dictionaries as well as the English Wikipedia as well as Concise Britannica define death penalty and capital punishment as the execution itself (following a court sentence). Andres 03:40, 6 November 2006 (CET)
The way to look at it is by how a judge pronounces it; I understand that the phrase is that he commits someone to a sentence. This implies that there is the sentence and the execution of the sentence. GerardM 16:45, 6 November 2006 (CET)
It seems that the very word sentence is ambiguous: it means both the judgment and the punishment. Then it is not clear if the word death penalty means anything other than the punishment (the execution) following the judgment of death penalty. Andres 22:16, 6 November 2006 (CET)