draconian

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adjective, often capitalized dra·co·ni·an \drā-ˈkō-nē-ən, drə-\

Definition of draconian

  1. 1 law :  of, relating to, or characteristic of Draco or the severe code of laws held to have been framed by him

  2. 2 :  cruel; also :  severe draconian littering fines

draconian was our Word of the Day on 08/26/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of draconian in a sentence

  1. The editorial criticizes the draconian measures being taken to control the spread of the disease.

Did You Know?

Draconian comes from Draco, the name of a 7th-century B.C. Athenian legislator who created a written code of law. Draco's code was intended to clarify preexistent laws, but its severity is what made it really memorable. In Draco's code, even minor offenses were punishable by death, and failure to pay one's debts could result in slavery. Draconian, as a result, became associated with things cruel or harsh. Something draconian need not always be as cruel as the laws in Draco's code, though - today the word is used in a wide variety of ways and often refers to measures (steep parking fines, for example) that are relatively minor when compared with the death penalty.

Origin and Etymology of draconian

Latin Dracon-, Draco, from Greek Drakōn Draco (Athenian lawgiver)


First Known Use: 1775


DRACONIAN Defined for English Language Learners

draconian

play
adjective, often capitalized dra·co·ni·an \drā-ˈkō-nē-ən, drə-\

Definition of draconian for English Language Learners

  • : very severe or cruel


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