verb (used with object), e·man·ci·pat·ed, e·man·ci·pat·ing.

  1. to free from restraint, influence, or the like.
  2. to free (a slave) from bondage.
  3. Roman and Civil Law. to terminate paternal control over.

verb (tr)

  1. to free from restriction or restraint, esp social or legal restraint
  2. (often passive) to free from the inhibitions imposed by conventional morality
  3. to liberate (a slave) from bondage

1782, agent noun in Latin form from emancipate.


1620s, from Latin emancipatus, past participle of emancipare “declare (someone) free, give up one’s authority over,” in Roman law, the freeing of a son or wife from the legal authority (patria potestas) of the pater familias, to make his or her own way in the world; from ex- “out, away” (see ex-) + mancipare “deliver, transfer or sell,” from mancipum “ownership,” from manus “hand” (see manual) + capere “take” (see capable). Related: Emancipated; emancipating. Adopted in the cause of religious toleration (17c.), then anti-slavery (1776). Also used in reference to women who free themselves from conventional customs (1850).

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