[ drey-koh-nee-uh n, druh- ]
/ dreɪˈkoʊ ni ən, drə- /


of, relating to, or characteristic of the Athenian statesman Draco, or his severe code of laws.
(often lowercase) rigorous; unusually severe or cruel: Draconian forms of punishment.

Also Draconic.

Origin of Draconian

1810–20; < Latin Dracōn- (stem of Draco) + -ian

Related formsDra·co·ni·an·ism, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for draconian


draconic (dreɪˈkɒnɪk)

/ (dreɪˈkəʊnɪən) /

adjective (sometimes capital)

of or relating to Draco, 7th-century Athenian statesman and lawmaker, or his code of laws, which prescribed death for almost every offence
harshdraconian legislation
Derived Formsdraconianism, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for draconian



1876 (earlier Draconic, implied from 1640s), from Draco, Greek statesman who laid down a code of laws for Athens 621 B.C.E. that mandated death as punishment for minor crimes. His name seems to mean literally "sharp-sighted" (see dragon).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper