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

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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

The San Antonio company is working with Udelv, an autonomous delivery startup in California, to test self-driving vans on streets around the store starting this fall. Madison Iszler,, "H-E-B to test driverless van for deliveries near Olmos Park," 10 July 2019 How does the environment for autonomous driving differ in China? Amy Gunia / Hong Kong, Time, "8 Questions With James Peng of, One of China's Most Valuable Autonomous Vehicle Startups," 10 July 2019 And the four largest cities in Marion County – including the hometown of one of the region’s signature attractions, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – remained autonomous and still do so today. Peter Krouse,, "Achieving “Unigov” required political compromises in Indianapolis: Cleveland 2030, A Way Forward," 10 July 2019 Also, Volkswagen may invest in Ford's autonomous affiliate Argo AI. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Ford watches, waits as Volkswagen decides whether to expand alliance," 9 July 2019 On April 16, according to Tesla, three employees sat in a Model 3 mounted with camera equipment while testing the car’s autonomous driving capabilities. Russ Mitchell,, "Is he a Tesla stalker or just a very meticulous researcher? A judge will decide," 9 July 2019 College athletes should be respected as autonomous individuals capable of capitalizing on their talents and entertainment value, not simply as pawns who generate immense commercial value for their schools’ respective brands. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Let college athletes legally profit off merchandise," 8 July 2019 The flag of Catalonia is included on the back of the neck to emphasise the link between the football club and the surrounding region, as the autonomous community continues to fight for independence., "Barcelona 2019/20 Away Kit: La Blaugrana Release Stylish Yellow Design in Homage to La Masia," 8 July 2019 And autonomous trucks won't arrive in time to fix it. Janna Herron, USA TODAY, "June jobs report: Economy adds 224,000 jobs, easing recession fears," 5 July 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for autonomous

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for autonomous

The first known use of autonomous was in 1799

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English Language Learners Definition of autonomous

: existing or acting separately from other things or people
: having the power or right to govern itself


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

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Comments on autonomous

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