autonomous

adjective au·ton·o·mous \ ȯ-ˈtä-nə-məs \
Updated on: 12 Nov 2017

Definition of autonomous

1 a :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
2 a :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

autonomously

adverb

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.

Recent Examples of autonomous from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of autonomous

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

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

AUTONOMOUS Defined for English Language Learners

autonomous

adjective

Definition of autonomous for English Language Learners

  • : existing or acting separately from other things or people

  • : having the power or right to govern itself


Medical Dictionary

autonomous

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

medical Definition of autonomous

1 :of, relating to, or marked by autonomy
2 a :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

autonomously

adverb


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