These are two distinct words, differing only in whether the first letter is capitalised or not. With a small "d", draconian (from the Latin and Greek words for a dragon or snake) means dragon-like. With a capital letter, however, Draconian refers to Draco the law-giver, an Athenian politician of the seventh century BC who gave the city-state it first penal code, which was noted for its severity.
With both words evoking fire-breathing harshness, the two words have merged into one. All true purists, however, take care to differentiate between Draconian laws and draconian mothers-in-law.Reuse content