Capital punishment or the death penalty is a legal process whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime. The judicial decree that someone be punished in this manner is a death sentence, while the actual process of killing the person is an execution. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally "regarding the head" (referring to execution by beheading).
Capital punishment and corporal punishment
Strictly speaking, capital punishment could be considered a form of corporal punishment because by being killed, the person suffers bodily. While corporal punishment is normally not thought of including capital punishment, a person can also be killed (i.e. executed) by corporal punishment, e.g. by flogging to death. Sometimes people were sentenced to such harsh forms of corporal punishment (e.g. running the gauntlet) that it was unsure if they would survive it, possibly mutilated, or not.
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