eman·​ci·​pate | \i-ˈman(t)-sə-ˌpāt \
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 \ noun
emancipatory \i-​ˈman(t)-​sə-​pə-​ˌtȯr-​ē \ 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

Cheryl became an honorary serpent and coupled up with Toni, while legally emancipating herself from her mother and taking control of Thistlehouse. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "Here's What's Going to Happen This Season of Riverdale," 10 Oct. 2018 Upon her release, following expert advice, Drew, then only 14, moved out of her mother's home and legally emancipated herself. Erin Bried, Good Housekeeping, "Drew Barrymore's Journey From Child Star to Fearless Entrepreneur," 12 Apr. 2016 At 16, Christa met 17-year-old Tina Katusky, who said Christa was emancipated by the state that year. Laura Crimaldi, BostonGlobe.com, "After a hard past, she had found joy," 14 Jan. 2018 The essential theme in modern Iranian history is a populace seeking to emancipate itself from tyranny—monarchal and Islamist. Reuel Marc Gerecht And, WSJ, "Don’t Fear Regime Change in Iran," 11 June 2018 In demanding the right to abort babies who are three months from being born, the people of Ireland were not just looking to emancipate the vaginas of their women. Christine M. Flowers, Philly.com, "We won't back down from the fight to end abortion | Christine Flowers," 28 May 2018 Moving on: Cheryl's officially emancipated herself from her mother, Penelope, and now has Thistle House all to herself. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "A Major Character Was Arrested During Tonight's Riverdale Finale," 16 May 2018 And the goal of white feminism itself is to simply emancipate white women from white men. Clarkisha Kent, The Root, "The Black Woman’s Tale: Why Margaret Atwood’s Espousal of White Feminist Beliefs Shouldn’t Surprise You," 18 Jan. 2018 The bomb thrown in 1881 at Tsar Alexander II, who had emancipated the serfs, woefully stymied reform in Russia. The Economist, "States are finding new ways of killing enemies abroad," 15 Mar. 2018

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

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Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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The first known use of emancipate was in 1613

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More Definitions for emancipate



English Language Learners Definition of emancipate

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


eman·​ci·​pate | \i-ˈman-sə-ˌpāt \
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 \
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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