pronunciation | drap-et-O-mAn-E-a
note | Drapetomania first appeared in a pseudoscientific article by an American physician in 1851 as a “mental illness” that caused black slaves to try to flee captivity. It supposedly occurred as a result of a master treating their slaves like equals. But though the first usage of the word is deeply rooted in racism, it derives simply from the Greek δραπετης drapetos, meaning “runaway (slave)”, and μανια mania, meaning “frenzy”. I post this word with the knowledge that it has been used as a tool of racism, and I’m choosing to consciously separate it from that origin. I know that words can’t be redefined on whim—but I do think they can sometimes be redeemed.