autonomy

noun

au·​ton·​o·​my ȯ-ˈtä-nə-mē How to pronounce autonomy (audio)
plural autonomies
1
: the quality or state of being self-governing
especially : the right of self-government
The territory was granted autonomy.
2
: self-directing freedom and especially moral independence
personal autonomy
3
: a self-governing state

Examples of autonomy in a Sentence

The Catalans take the matter of their language very seriously; it is an outward indication of their autonomy, of their distinction from the rest of Spain. Polly Evans, It's Not About the Tapas, 2006
The term empire implies more than simple cultural dominance or preeminent military power. It applies to states that use force to occupy and control a group of other states or regions. The conquered states, robbed of autonomy and political independence, become colonies, provinces, or territories of the imperial power. Taxes are levied, laws are imposed, soldiers are conscripted, governors are installed—all without the consent of the subjugated state. Michael J. Glennon, Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2002
The social payoff of the new knowledge would be new technology, then new industries and new jobs. Compton got nowhere with the administration, partly because he was an anti-New Dealer, partly because the government was unwilling to grant scientists the autonomy that they claimed, and partly because his program represented a trickle-down approach to economic recovery. Daniel J. Kevles, New Republic, 30 Sept. 2002
Usually, Americans think of freedom as a condition of personal autonomy, independence from the will of others. This way of thinking reflects just the kind of distinction—between oneself and the rest of the group of which one is a part—that Dewey considered false. Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club, 2001
a teacher who encourages individual autonomy The territory has been granted autonomy.
Recent Examples on the Web In your efforts to protect your autonomy, don’t forget that relationships require some give and take. Tatum Hunter, Washington Post, 9 July 2024 And people in many other states can vote for candidates who uphold pregnant people’s bodily autonomy and right to choose, no matter what. Alison Gemmill, Scientific American, 3 July 2024 Shaking up your fourth house of home and family, unexpected changes and conflicts could arise on the homefront, urging you to assert your autonomy in the process. Valerie Mesa, Peoplemag, 3 July 2024 As trans women, much time, effort—and in some cases, money—goes into our appearances, with medical transition arguably the most paramount step towards bodily autonomy. Nicky Josephine, Vogue, 30 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for autonomy 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'autonomy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from New Latin autonomia, borrowed from Greek autonomía "self-governance, independence, licence," from autónomos "independent, autonomous" + -ia -y entry 2

First Known Use

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of autonomy was circa 1623

Dictionary Entries Near autonomy

Cite this Entry

“Autonomy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/autonomy. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

autonomy

noun
au·​ton·​o·​my ȯ-ˈtän-ə-mē How to pronounce autonomy (audio)
plural autonomies
: the power or right of self-government

Medical Definition

autonomy

noun
au·​ton·​o·​my -mē How to pronounce autonomy (audio)
plural autonomies
1
: the quality or state of being independent, free, and self-directing
2
: independence from the organism as a whole in the capacity of a part for growth, reactivity, or responsiveness

Legal Definition

autonomy

noun
au·​ton·​o·​my ȯ-ˈtä-nə-mē How to pronounce autonomy (audio)
: the quality or state of being self-governing
especially : the right of self-government
autonomous adjective
autonomously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on autonomy

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