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 Keenon, a robotics company in Shanghai, has developed an autonomous vehicle to disinfect areas, using a combination of LIDAR, machine vision and sensors. The Economist, "The world after covid-19 Kai-Fu Lee on how covid spurs China’s great robotic leap forward," 25 June 2020 Some protesters remained in the area of Black Lives Matter Plaza early Tuesday morning, deeming it an autonomous zone, WUSA said. CBS News, "Protesters try to topple Andrew Jackson statue near White House and get pepper sprayed," 23 June 2020 And, in Seattle, no arrests have been made following a Saturday morning shooting in the city's autonomous zone that killed a 19-year-old and critically hospitalized another person. Jessica Flores, USA TODAY, "Protest updates: Minnesota jail officers allege discrimination; Junipero Serra statues toppled in California; 1 dead in Seattle shooting," 23 June 2020 Some protesters early Thursday called for the autonomous zone to be rebuilt. oregonlive, "Police clear protesters, makeshift barriers in Pearl District as sun rises," 18 June 2020 Hundreds of protesters marking the death of George Floyd established the autonomous zone between two Portland city blocks on Thursday night. Spencer Neale, Washington Examiner, "'Playtime over': Portland police dismantle autonomous zone outside mayor's residence," 18 June 2020 The United States no longer believes the city to be highly autonomous from China, and Britain is overhauling its immigration policies to accommodate Hong Kongers. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, "A Stubborn Leader, a Broken System," 18 June 2020 There was no immediate reaction from the PKK or from Baghdad and northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. NBC News, "Turkey moves troops against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq," 17 June 2020 Noticeably absent are Nevada and Arizona, where many companies test their autonomous-vehicle technology. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Feds' Effort to Get Self-Driving-Car Testers to Standardize Data Is off to Slow Start," 16 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for autonomous

Time Traveler

The first known use of autonomous was in 1799

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Statistics for autonomous

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Autonomous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for autonomous


How to pronounce autonomous (audio)

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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