eman·​ci·​pate | \ i-ˈman(t)-sə-ˌpāt How to pronounce emancipate (audio) \
emancipated; emancipating

Definition of emancipate

transitive verb

1 : to free from restraint, control, or the power of another especially : to free from bondage
2 : to release from parental care and responsibility and make sui juris
3 : to free from any controlling influence (such as traditional mores or beliefs)

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Other Words from emancipate

emancipator \ i-​ˈman(t)-​sə-​ˌpā-​tər How to pronounce emancipator (audio) \ noun
emancipatory \ i-​ˈman(t)-​sə-​pə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce emancipatory (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for emancipate

free, release, liberate, emancipate, manumit mean to set loose from restraint or constraint. free implies a usually permanent removal from whatever binds, confines, entangles, or oppresses. freed the animals from their cages release suggests a setting loose from confinement, restraint, or a state of pressure or tension, often without implication of permanent liberation. released his anger on a punching bag liberate stresses particularly the resulting state of liberty. liberated their country from the tyrant emancipate implies the liberation of a person from subjection or domination. labor-saving devices emancipated us from household drudgery manumit implies emancipation from slavery. the document manumitted the slaves

Examples of emancipate in a Sentence

He felt the only way to emancipate himself from his parents was to move away. under the cover of darkness animal rights activists emancipated the inhabitants of the mink ranch

Recent Examples on the Web

But what happens when such women, emancipated by employment opportunities that previously didn’t exist, and motivated by dangerous, sometimes deadly working conditions, decide to fight the powers that be? Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Made in Bangladesh': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 6 Sep. 2019 By this point, the northern states had emancipated all their slaves. John Steele Gordon, WSJ, "A Short History of Census Taking," 28 June 2019 The goal of shareholder primacy was to emancipate the private sector and encourage risk-taking Shareholder primacy has been the dominant paradigm for corporate accountability for the past 40 years. Miguel Padró, Quartz at Work, "If we want our corporate leaders held accountable, we must let other stakeholders in," 26 Aug. 2019 In 1791, France, an infant republic, became the first Western European country to emancipate its Jews, granting them full legal rights. James Mcauley, Town & Country, "The Haunting of Paris: Georges Mandel and the Long Legacy of Nazi Violence," 6 Aug. 2019 And for two weeks in January 1832, the Virginia legislature toyed with the idea of abolishing slavery and emancipating people of African descent. Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post, "Virginia debated ending slavery after Nat Turner’s revolt," 14 June 2019 John Quincy Adams warned that if the South seceded, the war powers clause of the Constitution empowered the federal government to emancipate slaves to suppress the rebellion, a policy Lincoln embraced shortly after the Civil War began. Nicholas Guyatt, The New York Review of Books, "‘No Property in Man’: An Exchange," 6 June 2019 According to comments from close observers, this year Holly emancipated her cubs, who will spend their first season foraging for their own meals. Jeff Parrott, Anchorage Daily News, "The Katmai bear cams are back online: Watch the live stream here," 26 June 2019 The song’s renown gave Howe fame and the power to emancipate herself from Chev’s control. Elaine Showalter, The New York Review of Books, "Whitman, Melville, & Julia Ward Howe: A Tale of Three Bicentennials," 27 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'emancipate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of emancipate

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for emancipate

Latin emancipatus, past participle of emancipare, from e- + mancipare to transfer ownership of, from mancip-, manceps contractor, from manus hand + capere to take — more at manual, heave entry 1

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Statistics for emancipate

Last Updated

27 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for emancipate

The first known use of emancipate was in 1613

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More Definitions for emancipate



English Language Learners Definition of emancipate

formal : to free (someone) from someone else's control or power


eman·​ci·​pate | \ i-ˈman-sə-ˌpāt How to pronounce emancipate (audio) \
emancipated; emancipating

Kids Definition of emancipate

: to set free from control or slavery : liberate

Other Words from emancipate

emancipator \ -​ˌpā-​tər \ noun


transitive verb
eman·​ci·​pate | \ i-ˈman-sə-ˌpāt How to pronounce emancipate (audio) \
emancipated; emancipating

Legal Definition of emancipate

1 : to free from restraint, control, or the power of another especially : to free from bondage emancipated the slaves — compare enfranchise
2 : to release from the care, responsibility, and control of one's parents — compare age of majority, legal age

Note: The circumstances under which a minor may become emancipated vary from state to state. In many states, however, the marriage of a minor results in his or her emancipation.

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