eman·​ci·​pa·​tion i-ˌman(t)-sə-ˈpā-shən How to pronounce emancipation (audio)
: the act or process of emancipating
emancipationist noun

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.”

Examples of emancipation in a Sentence

a book discussing the role that the emancipation of slaves played in the nation's history
Recent Examples on the Web Abolitionists: Members of a movement to end slavery and advocates for the full emancipation of enslaved people. Darcel Rockett, Chicago Tribune, 11 Sep. 2023 He is still revered as one of the first martyrs for Mexican emancipation. Rodrigo Cervantes, Los Angeles Times, 14 Aug. 2023 The system of apprenticeship was not abolished until four years later when the Parliament voted for complete emancipation to take effect from August 1, 1838. Melissa Noel, Essence, 1 Aug. 2023 Essential to that scrutiny was that Meade had a reputation as a Democrat who was not an enthusiastic supporter of emancipation as a war aim. Brooks D. Simpson, The Conversation, 26 July 2023 Gandhi often weaved his own khadi clothing on a charkha, or spinning wheel, a device that has come to symbolize the country’s political and economic emancipation. Rhea Mogul, CNN, 10 Sep. 2023 The city voted in March to make Juneteenth a paid holiday, commemorating the emancipation of slaves in the United States. Jerry Wu, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 June 2023 The exclusive partnership was unveiled on Juneteenth, the U.S. holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 June 2023 Juneteenth, a federal holiday celebrated annually on June 19, honors the emancipation of the last enslaved African Americans in a Confederate community in Galveston, Texas, who were notified that they had been freed two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Nakylah Carter, ABC News, 16 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'emancipation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1631, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of emancipation was in 1631


Dictionary Entries Near emancipation

Cite this Entry

“Emancipation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emancipation. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


eman·​ci·​pa·​tion i-ˌman(t)-sə-ˈpā-shən How to pronounce emancipation (audio)
: gradual separation of an original homogeneous embryo into fields with different specific potentialities for development

Legal Definition


eman·​ci·​pa·​tion i-ˌman-sə-ˈpā-shən How to pronounce emancipation (audio)
: the act or process of emancipating

More from Merriam-Webster on emancipation

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!