Electrocution, death caused by passage of an electric current through the body. The current paralyzes the respiratory center of the brain and stops the heart. Death comes within minutes, usually seconds. The body may also be burned, since it offers resistance to the current and therefore generates heat.
Common causes of accidental electrocution are touching a live, poorly insulated wire while being in contact with the ground; and being struck by lightning. Electrocution may also be deliberate, as in execution in the electric chair.