: the quality or state of being self-governing
especially : the right of self-government
The territory was granted autonomy.
: self-directing freedom and especially moral independence
: a self-governing state
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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Additionally, call center employees used their new autonomy to solve customer problems without supervisors needing a green light. —Peter Georgescu, Forbes, 5 May 2023 Instead of celebrating the autonomy of instructors, a key point made by the founders, the goal is now mechanization. —David Perry, Washington Post, 27 Apr. 2023 Patient autonomy and societal accommodation are important aspects when considering these issues. —Matt Villano, CNN, 12 Apr. 2023 Half a century ago, California policymakers shuttered state psychiatric institutions, denouncing them as inhumane, and involuntary commitment was deemphasized — the thinking being that the patient should have autonomy and participate in their care. —Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times, 11 Apr. 2023 He’s never had a moment of his own autonomy to make decisions for himself. —Breanna Bell, Variety, 9 Apr. 2023 So health care institutions and providers need to establish interdisciplinary and equitable policies that emphasize patients’ dignity and autonomy. —Sally Mahmoud-werthmann, STAT, 3 Apr. 2023 In some countries, policymakers face growing calls to reign in their autonomy. —Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 24 Mar. 2023 This can result in employee autonomy as well as accountability and empowerment. —Lara Augusta, Forbes, 4 May 2023 See More
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.
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