au·​ton·​o·​mous | \ ȯ-ˈtä-nə-məs How to pronounce autonomous (audio) \

Definition of autonomous

1a : having the right or power of self-government an autonomous territory
b : undertaken or carried on without outside control : self-contained an autonomous school system
2a : existing or capable of existing independently an autonomous zooid
b : responding, reacting, or developing independently of the whole an autonomous growth
3 : controlled by the autonomic nervous system
4 : of, relating to, or marked by autonomy

Other Words from autonomous

autonomously adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of autonomous in a Sentence

Native American nations are regarded as autonomous in many respects and thus not subject to a number of state and local laws.
Recent Examples on the Web Like Tailwind itself, the air-taxi industry is in its infancy—along with the fledgling efforts of the biggest players in aviation, which are adding electric and autonomous elements to it. Angus Loten, WSJ, 5 May 2022 The decentralized autonomous organization that released the coin, ApeCoin DAO, built up hype by giving away free tokens to Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT owners. Fortune, 29 Apr. 2022 The fully electric truck is part of GM's plans to spend $35 billion on electric and autonomous vehicles over the next three years. CBS News, 25 Apr. 2022 Honda also invested billions to build the electric and autonomous Cruise Origin shuttle with the AV company. oregonlive, 5 Apr. 2022 Last week, the company launched ApeCoin, a cryptocurrency that Yuga says will be governed independently as a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). Todd Spangler, Variety, 22 Mar. 2022 Among the pieces are portraits of royalty and martyrs, renderings of religious gatherings and stories of the Sikh Empire, an autonomous state that existed from 1799 to 1849, near the end of the British annexation of the Indian subcontinent. Susan Dunne, Hartford Courant, 27 Apr. 2022 The software is still in beta, and is far from fully autonomous in spite of its name. Allison Morrow, CNN, 26 Apr. 2022 This arrangement constitutes the largest commercial autonomous drone project in the world. Dawn Zoldi, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'autonomous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of autonomous

1799, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for autonomous

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

Learn More About autonomous

Time Traveler for autonomous

Time Traveler

The first known use of autonomous was in 1799

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near autonomous



autonomous investment

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for autonomous

Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Autonomous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for autonomous


au·​ton·​o·​mous | \ ȯ-ˈtän-ə-məs How to pronounce autonomous (audio) \

Medical Definition of autonomous

1 : of, relating to, or marked by autonomy
2a : not forming a part (as does an embryo or seed) in the developmental sequence of an organism
b : responding, reacting, or developing independently of the whole a tumor is an autonomous growth
3 : under control of the autonomic nervous system

Other Words from autonomous

autonomously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on autonomous

Nglish: Translation of autonomous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of autonomous for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!