Both seem to mean "capital punishment" or "execution" or "death penalty". Is one a more specific word, maybe only used in legal contexts?

  • 死刑 is "death penalty" or "capital punishment". It's a kind of punishment, and is something sentenced in court. 極刑 (literally "ultimate punishment") is an euphemistic synonym for this.
  • 処刑 is "execution". It refers to the actual action of killing a criminal/prisoner using a gun, sword, drug, etc. It also works as a suru-verb, "to execute (a person)." 処刑 sounds a bit cruel, and (死刑の)執行 is preferred in legal contexts.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.