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adjective au·ton·o·mous \ȯ-ˈtä-nə-məs\

Simple Definition of autonomous

  • : existing or acting separately from other things or people

  • : having the power or right to govern itself

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of autonomous

  1. 1 :  of, relating to, or marked by autonomy

  2. 2 a :  having the right or power of self-government b :  undertaken or carried on without outside control :  self-contained <an autonomous school system>

  3. 3 a :  existing or capable of existing independently <an autonomous zooid> b :  responding, reacting, or developing independently of the whole <an autonomous growth>

  4. 4 :  controlled by the autonomic nervous system



Examples of autonomous in a sentence

  1. <Native American nations are regarded as autonomous in many respects and thus not subject to a number of state and local laws.>

Origin and Etymology of autonomous

Greek autonomos independent, from aut- + nomos law — more at nimble

First Known Use: 1799

Synonym Discussion of autonomous

free, independent, sovereign, autonomous mean not subject to the rule or control of another. free stresses the complete absence of external rule and the full right to make all of one's own decisions <you're free to do as you like>. independent implies a standing alone; applied to a state it implies lack of connection with any other having power to interfere with its citizens, laws, or policies <the colony's struggle to become independent>. sovereign stresses the absence of a superior power and implies supremacy within a thing's own domain or sphere <separate and sovereign armed services>. autonomous stresses independence in matters pertaining to self-government <in this denomination each congregation is regarded as autonomous>.

free, release, liberate, emancipate, manumit mean to set loose from restraint or constraint. free implies a usually permanent removal from whatever binds, confines, entangles, or oppresses <freed the animals from their cages>. release suggests a setting loose from confinement, restraint, or a state of pressure or tension, often without implication of permanent liberation <released his anger on a punching bag>. liberate stresses particularly the resulting state of liberty <liberated their country from the tyrant>. emancipate implies the liberation of a person from subjection or domination <labor-saving devices emancipated us from household drudgery>. manumit implies emancipation from slavery <the document manumitted the slaves>.

Medical Dictionary


adjective au·ton·o·mous \ȯ-ˈtän-ə-məs\

Medical Definition of autonomous

  1. 1:  of, relating to, or marked by autonomy

  2. 2a:  not forming a part (as does an embryo or seed) in the developmental sequence of an organismb:  responding, reacting, or developing independently of the whole <a tumor is an autonomous growth>

  3. 3:  under control of the autonomic nervous system



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