Entries linking to unemancipated
prefix of negation, Old English un-, from Proto-Germanic *un- (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German, German un-, Gothic un-, Dutch on-), from PIE *n- (source of Sanskrit a-, an- "not," Greek a-, an-, Old Irish an-, Latin in-), combining form of PIE root *ne- "not." Often euphemistic (such as untruth for "lie").
The most prolific of English prefixes, freely and widely used in Old English, where it forms more than 1,000 compounds. It underwent a mass extinction in early Middle English, but emerged with renewed vigor 16c. to form compounds with native and imported words. It disputes with Latin-derived cognate in- (1) the right to form the negation of certain words (indigestable/undigestable, etc.), and though both might be deployed in cooperation to indicate shades of meaning (unfamous/infamous), typically they are not.
It also makes words from phrases (such as uncalled-for, c. 1600; undreamed-of, 1630s; uncome-at-able, 1690s; unputdownable, 1947, of a book; un-in-one-breath-utterable, Ben Jonson; etc., but the habit is not restricted to un-; such as put-up-able-with, 1812). As a prefix in telegramese to replace not and save the cost of a word, it is attested by 1936.
1620s, "set free from control," from Latin emancipatus, past participle of emancipare "put (a son) out of paternal authority, 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 assimilated form of ex- "out, away" (see ex-) + mancipare "deliver, transfer or sell," from mancipum "ownership," from manus "hand" (from PIE root *man- (2) "hand") + capere "to take," from PIE root *kap- "to grasp." Related: Emancipated; emancipating.
Not used by the Romans in reference to the freeing of slaves, the verb for this being manumittere. The English word was adopted in the jargon of the cause of religious toleration (17c.), then anti-slavery (1776). Also used in reference to women who free themselves from conventional customs (1850).
updated on February 26, 2014