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executive order n: an order issued by a government's executive on the basis of authority specifically granted to the executive branch (as by the U.S. Constitution or a congressional act) [the National Security Agency was created by an executive order] compare proclamation, statute NOTE: An executive order from the president does not have the force of law until it is printed in the Federal Register.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.