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


adjective in·de·pen·dent \ˌin-də-ˈpen-dənt\

Definition of independent

  1. 1 :  not dependent: as a (1) :  not subject to control by others :  self-governing (2) :  not affiliated with a larger controlling unit <an independent bookstore> b (1) :  not requiring or relying on something else :  not contingent <an independent conclusion> (2) :  not looking to others for one's opinions or for guidance in conduct (3) :  not bound by or committed to a political party c (1) :  not requiring or relying on others (as for care or livelihood) <independent of her parents> (2) :  being enough to free one from the necessity of working for a living <a person of independent means> d :  showing a desire for freedom <an independent manner> e (1) :  not determined by or capable of being deduced or derived from or expressed in terms of members (as axioms or equations) of the set under consideration; especially :  having linear independence <an independent set of vectors> (2) :  having the property that the joint probability (as of events or samples) or the joint probability density function (as of random variables) equals the product of the probabilities or probability density functions of separate occurrence

  2. 2 capitalized :  of or relating to the Independents

  3. 3 a :  main 5 <an independent clause> b :  neither deducible from nor incompatible with another statement <independent postulates>

in·de·pen·dent·ly adverb

Examples of independent

  1. The country recently became independent.

  2. They have a good deal of independent authority.

  3. She has an independent income.

  4. Another laboratory has provided independent confirmation of the test results.

  5. She is a very independent person.

  6. She has an independent mind.

  7. They lead an independent life.


First Known Use of independent


Synonym Discussion of independent

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>.

Rhymes with independent



noun in·de·pen·dent

Simple Definition of independent

  • : someone or something that is not connected to others of the same kind

  • politics : a person who does not belong to a political party

Full Definition of independent

  1. 1 capitalized :  a sectarian of an English religious movement for congregational autonomy originating in the late 16th century, giving rise to Congregationalists, Baptists, and Friends, and forming one of the major political groupings of the period of Cromwell

  2. 2 :  one that is independent; especially often capitalized :  one that is not bound by or definitively committed to a political party

Examples of independent

  1. She registered to vote as an Independent.


First Known Use of independent


Seen and Heard

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


February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

196.5 pounds 2.2 pounds 16.96 pounds 100 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


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