manumission

In the United States before the Civil War, when owning slaves was common, manumission was the act of setting a slave free.

When Hamilton sings about "revolutionary manumission abolitionists" in the musical Hamilton, he's being a tiny bit redundant. Manumission and abolition are both used to mean "freeing slaves" or "a release from slavery." More specifically though, manumission is the act of a slave owner setting slaves free, while emancipation (and abolition) involve government action. When slavery was legal in the U.S., most who opposed it believed in all three.

Definitions of manumission
  1. noun
    the formal act of freeing from slavery
    “he believed in the manumission of the slaves”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    freeing, liberation, release
    the act of liberating someone or something
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week