Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Emancipation

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is emancipation. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Emancipation is the act of freeing someone from the restraint, control, or power of another. It is especially used for the act of freeing someone from slavery.

// Jomo Kenyatta played a key role in the emancipation of Kenya from European rule in the 1960s and became the first president of the newly independent nation.


“Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day, is a nationwide celebration to commemorate the emancipationfrom slavery.” — Jason Gonzalez, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), 15 May 2022

Did You Know?

The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, ordered that enslaved people living in rebellious territories be released from the bonds of ownership and made free people—their own masters. Though the proclamation’s initial impact was limited, the order was true to the etymology of emancipation, which comes from a Latin word combining the prefix e-, meaning “away,” and mancipare, meaning “to transfer ownership of.”

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