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. In reality, however, the phrase "corporal punishment" does not include capital punishment, and the two concepts are completely different in practical, legal and moral terms. Ordinary corporal punishment as officially practised does not endanger life.
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