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The term "Draconian" comes from the 7th-century B.C. Athenian legislator Draco who created a written code of law. The goal was to clarify existing laws in writing. The result was a severe increase in punishments for most offences. Most offences, including most minor ones, became punishable by death. Failure to pay a debt was punished by slavery.

A law or rule being "draconian" would strictly speaking mean that it is punishable by death. The term is more commonly used to describe punishments that are harsher than the crime of offence dictates.


The Linux Foundation very publicly banned a speaker from one of their events for supposedly violating their "Code Of Conduct" - without stating how it was supposedly violated - in November 2018[1]. That measure can be described as draconian since the punishment was not proportional to no actual crime or violation.


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