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draconian (adj.)

1759, "of or pertaining to Draco," the ancient Greek statesman; 1777, in reference to laws, "rigorous, extremely severe or harsh" (earlier Draconic, which is implied from 1640s). Draco is the Latinized form of Greek Drakon, name of the archon of Athens who laid down a code of laws for Athens c. 621 B.C.E. that mandated death as punishment for minor crimes. His name seems to mean literally "sharp-sighted" (see dragon).

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