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draconian (adj) (of laws, measures, punishments, etc.) very severe, harsh, and cruel.
Draconian laws are very harsh and oppressive laws, the violation of which may attract draconian punishments, that is, very severe and harsh punishments. If an offense like petty theft is punished with a long jail term or death, the punishment is draconian. The laws dealing with drug trafficking in most countries prescribe very severe punishments and so they are draconian.
- The punishments in some Islamic countries, even in these modern days, are draconian as they include such severe punishments as whiplashes in public, hanging in public, and severing of limbs.
- The laws in force against drug trafficking in most of the countries, though draconian, have certainly acted as a deterrent against the crime, as it has come down considerably.