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[ lib-uh-rey-shuhn ] [ ˌlɪb əˈreɪ ʃən ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


the act or fact of gaining equal rights or full social or economic opportunities for a particular group.

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More about liberation

Liberation “the act of gaining equal rights” is adapted from Latin līberātiō “a setting free, a release,” which comes from the verb līberāre “to free” and, ultimately, the adjective līber “free, open, frank.” From here, there is the possibility for confusion, as the adjective līber “free,” the noun līber “child,” and the noun liber “book, bark” are all common words in Latin. Līber “free” is also the source of deliver, liberal, libertarian, and liberty, and it comes from an ancient root meaning “people”; compare the names Leopold (literally “bold people”) and Luther (“people army”). Līber “child” literally means “free one” and almost exclusively appears as plural līberī “children.” Meanwhile, liber “book” is the source of libel, library, and libretto, and it is unrelated to either līber. Take care not to confuse these nearly identical words! Liberation was first recorded in English in the early 15th century.

how is liberation used?

In 1982, … young gay rights activists including [Ralf] Dose hoped to shed light on LGBTQ persecution and activism. He and others were eager to learn about their predecessors in the 1920s, figures like [Magnus] Hirschfeld who’d made great strides in liberation before being exiled or killed by the Nazis …. As he pieced together these findings, Dose realized how much broader Hirschfeld’s focus was than gay liberation.

Nina Strochlic, “The great hunt for the world's first LGBTQ archive,” National Geographic, June 28, 2022

It is also a good time to remember Anahita Ratebzad, the mother of Afghan women’s liberation, and to uphold the gender equality she fought so hard to achieve. When the April Revolution erupted in Afghanistan in 1978, Ratebzad was in the thick of the battle, a leader of the People’s Democratic Party.

Tim Wheeler, “Remembering Anahita Ratebzad, socialist leader and mother of Afghan women’s liberation,” People’s World, August 19, 2021
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[ gal-vuh-nahyz ] [ ˈgæl vəˌnaɪz ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used with object)

to startle into sudden activity; stimulate.

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More about galvanize

Galvanize “to startle into sudden activity” is adapted from French galvaniser, of the same meaning. The change from French s to English z reflects the spelling standards of modern English; while UK English has largely preserved the original s and uses galvanise, US English typically prefers the use of -ize in verbs—though there are exceptions such as advertise and advise. French galvaniser is the namesake of Luigi Galvani, an Italian physiologist who conducted experiments with electricity in the 18th century. Though there is no consensus on the source of the surname Galvani, one hypothesis is that it shares an origin with Gawain, the name of a knight of the Round Table, which likely comes from the Welsh word gwalch “hawk.” Galvanize was first recorded in English circa 1800.

how is galvanize used?

The presence of the enemy seemed to galvanize the growers, underscoring the subtext of Elliot’s message: that their industry was under attack, and they needed D&W’s crisis-management services.

Ruth Ozeki, All Over Creation, 2003

Police and city leaders in several Jersey Shore towns are ready to shut down any raucous pop-up parties. In recent weeks, content creators on TikTok or other social media platforms have galvanized thousands of people to head to the Jersey Shore.

Astrid Martínez, “Point Pleasant Beach taking steps to prevent future pop-up parties,” CBS News, June 18, 2022
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[ aw-ton-uh-mee ] [ ɔˈtɒn ə mi ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


independence or freedom, as of the will or one's actions.

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More about autonomy

Autonomy “freedom of the will” comes from Ancient Greek autonomía “independence,” which is based on the adjective autónomos “with laws of one’s own.” Autónomos, in turn, is a compound of the elements autós “self” and nómos “law, custom, management, regulation.” Autós should look all too familiar, as its stems aut- and auto- appear in English terms such as authentic (literally “done by oneself”), automatic (“thinking for oneself”), and autopsy (“seeing for oneself”). Meanwhile, nómos is also the ultimate source of the words astronomy (“star regulation”), Deuteronomy (“second law”), and economy (“household management”). Autonomy was first recorded in English circa 1620.

how is autonomy used?

[Susan] Prendergast, who’s an assistant professor in the University of Victoria’s school of nursing, said Alberta lags behind other provinces such as B.C., Ontario and Nova Scotia, where NPs [nurse practitioners] have more autonomy.

Jennifer Lee, “Alberta's nurse practitioners seek autonomy as family doctor shortage worsens,” CBC, June 23, 2022

This freedom has sometimes been a source of friction in political quarters. “This extensive autonomy is desirable for designing and carrying out research, but should not necessarily extend to aspects of personnel,” says Holger Becker, a physicist who is a lawmaker in the German parliament and is on the parliament’s research committee.

Alison Abbott, “Max Planck’s cherished autonomy questioned following criticism of misconduct investigations,” Nature, June 8, 2022
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