Word Origin & History
c.1600, from L. emancipatus, pp. 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" + mancipare "deliver, transfer
or sell," from mancipum "ownership," from manus "hand" (see manual
) + capere "take" (see capable
). Adopted in the cause of religious toleration (17c.), then anti-slavery (1776). Also used in ref. to women who free themselves from conventional customs (1850).