Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

autonomy

play
noun au·ton·o·my \ȯ-ˈtä-nə-mē\

Simple Definition of autonomy

  • : the state of existing or acting separately from others

  • : the power or right of a country, group, etc., to govern itself

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of autonomy

plural autonomies

  1. 1 :  the quality or state of being self-governing; especially :  the right of self-government

  2. 2 :  self-directing freedom and especially moral independence

  3. 3 :  a self-governing state

Examples of autonomy in a sentence

  1. The Catalans take the matter of their language very seriously; it is an outward indication of their autonomy, of their distinction from the rest of Spain. —Polly Evans, It's Not About the Tapas, 2006

  2. The term empire implies more than simple cultural dominance or preeminent military power. It applies to states that use force to occupy and control a group of other states or regions. The conquered states, robbed of autonomy and political independence, become colonies, provinces, or territories of the imperial power. Taxes are levied, laws are imposed, soldiers are conscripted, governors are installed—all without the consent of the subjugated state. —Michael J. Glennon, Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2002

  3. The social payoff of the new knowledge would be new technology, then new industries and new jobs. Compton got nowhere with the administration, partly because he was an anti-New Dealer, partly because the government was unwilling to grant scientists the autonomy that they claimed, and partly because his program represented a trickle-down approach to economic recovery. —Daniel J. Kevles, New Republic, 30 Sept. 2002

  4. Usually, Americans think of freedom as a condition of personal autonomy, independence from the will of others. This way of thinking reflects just the kind of distinction—between oneself and the rest of the group of which one is a part—that Dewey considered false. —Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club, 2001

  5. a teacher who encourages individual autonomy

  6. The territory has been granted autonomy.



Origin of autonomy

(see autonomous)


First Known Use: circa 1623


Medical Dictionary

autonomy

play
noun au·ton·o·my \-mē\

Medical Definition of autonomy

plural autonomies

  1. 1:  the quality or state of being independent, free, and self-directing

  2. 2:  independence from the organism as a whole in the capacity of a part for growth, reactivity, or responsiveness




Law Dictionary

autonomy

play
noun au·ton·o·my \ȯ-ˈtä-nə-mē\

Legal Definition of autonomy

  1. :  the quality or state of being self-governing; especially :  the right of self-government

autonomous \-məs\ play adjective
autonomously adverb




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up autonomy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a smart aleck

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

prompt maudlin angry oily
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ