Definition of Draconian Measures

What does the term "draconian measures" mean? What is meant by the term "draconian measures"?

In order to understand what the term "draconian measures" means, let's first break down the word "draconian".

The word "draconian" comes from "Draco". Draco was the first legislator of Athens in Ancient Greece, and was responsible for implementing a written legal code (prior to Draco, the system was one of oral law and blood feud).

Definition of Draconian Measures - Financial DictionaryDraco's laws were known as being especially harsh - the death penalty was chosen as the punishment for even minor offenses.

So, the word "draconian" has come to mean something that is unusually harsh. So, if "draconian measures" are implemented (say, in a country's budget), then very harsh measures are thought to have been implemented. That's the definition of "draconian measures".

Let's give an example:

The country of XYZ has been posting deficits for the past decade. In order to balance their budget, the country is implementing harsh spending cuts, including cuts to health care and education. Critics of the cutbacks assail the budget as having "draconian measures", which means that they believe that the cuts are extremely harsh.

Update: January 26th, 2020 4:05 pm EST

Hong Kong authorities said that "draconian measures" would have to be implemented in China in order to halt the spread of the "Coronavirus". These "draconian measures" would include school closures, working-from-home arrangements and the cancellation of mass gatherings.

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