in·​de·​pen·​dent | \ ˌin-də-ˈpen-dənt How to pronounce independent (audio) \

Definition of independent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not dependent: such as
a(1) : not subject to control by others : self-governing
(2) : not affiliated with a larger controlling unit an independent bookstore
b(1) : not requiring or relying on something else : not contingent an independent conclusion
(2) : not looking to others for one's opinions or for guidance in conduct
(3) : not bound by or committed to a political party
c(1) : not requiring or relying on others (as for care or livelihood) independent of her parents
(2) : being enough to free one from the necessity of working for a living a person of independent means
d : showing a desire for freedom an independent manner
e(1) : not determined by or capable of being deduced or derived from or expressed in terms of members (such as axioms or equations) of the set under consideration especially : having linear independence an independent set of vectors
(2) : having the property that the joint probability (as of events or samples) or the joint probability density function (as of random variables) equals the product of the probabilities or probability density functions of separate occurrence
2 capitalized : of or relating to the Independents
3a : main sense 5 an independent clause
b : neither deducible from nor incompatible with another statement independent postulates



Definition of independent (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one that is independent especially, often capitalized : one that is not bound by or definitively committed to a political party
2 capitalized : a sectarian of an English religious movement for congregational autonomy originating in the late 16th century, giving rise to Congregationalists, Baptists, and Friends, and forming one of the major political groupings of the period of Cromwell

Other Words from independent


independently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for independent


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 independent in a Sentence

Adjective The country recently became independent. They have a good deal of independent authority. She has an independent income. Another laboratory has provided independent confirmation of the test results. She is a very independent person. She has an independent mind. They lead an independent life. Noun She registered to vote as an Independent. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective As with any creative competition where the selection of a winner is open to subjective interpretation, there may be differences of artistic opinion from the independent panel of judges. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 May 2022 Michigan's hospitals are the fifth safest overall nationally, according to a report issued Tuesday by The Leapfrog Group, an independent nonprofit organization that reviews hospital patient safety. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, 10 May 2022 In December, the independent panel that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccines issued a preferential recommendation for the mRNA vaccines over the J&J product. Helen Branswell, STAT, 9 May 2022 Brandon is also a Report for America corps member with the GroundTruth Project, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization dedicated to supporting the next generation of journalists in the U.S. and around the world. Brandon Drenon, The Indianapolis Star, 9 May 2022 This article about recess was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Jackie Mader, NBC News, 7 May 2022 Inside Climate News is a nonprofit, independent news organization that covers climate, energy and the environment. James Bruggers, The Courier-Journal, 30 Apr. 2022 The new 45th congressional district was created last year by an independent redistricting panel in the once-per-decade, post-census redrawing of political maps. Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, 29 Apr. 2022 The Wisconsin Policy Forum is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, independent policy research organization. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 28 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Twenty of the 21 legislators proposing the rebate are Democrats, along with one independent. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 Mar. 2022 As a current independent, BYU will have to remove or reschedule eight-or-nine games a year through the 2026-27 season to make room for a conference slate. Kevin Reynolds, The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 Feb. 2022 For Councilor Ali Dieng, a Black man and a political independent, the incident put race into focus. NBC News, 19 Dec. 2021 Jane Sellers, a political independent in rural Rockingham County, on the border of West Virginia, voted for Trump in 2016 with great trepidation and last year cast her ballot for Biden — with hopes that were soon dashed. Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2021 Aaron Elkins is a political independent with little use for Democrats or Republicans. Los Angeles Times, 29 Apr. 2021 Amber McReynolds, a political independent, is the chief executive of the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Vote at Home Institute and a former elections director in Denver., 22 Apr. 2021 Thomas Crane fired an even-par 72 to take low medalist honors, but teammate Ken Brown shot a 1-over 73 as did fellow teammate Braxton Bonner, who was playing as an independent. Ben Thomas |, al, 26 Apr. 2022 Cuomo could still run to seek his old job as an independent. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'independent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of independent


1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1644, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for independent

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The first known use of independent was in 1611

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Dictionary Entries Near independent



independent assortment

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Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Independent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for independent


in·​de·​pen·​dent | \ ˌin-də-ˈpen-dənt How to pronounce independent (audio) \

Kids Definition of independent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not under the control or rule of another an independent country
2 : not connected with something else an independent bookstore
3 : not depending on anyone else for money to live on
4 : thinking freely : not looking to others for guidance an independent thinker

Other Words from independent

independently adverb



Kids Definition of independent (Entry 2 of 2)

: an independent person



Legal Definition of independent

1 : not dependent on others (as parents) for livelihood especially : not a dependent declared she was independent on her financial aid form
2a : not affiliated with another usually larger unit an independent adjuster
b : not contingent on something else an independent promise

Other Words from independent

independence noun
independently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on independent

Nglish: Translation of independent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of independent for Arabic Speakers


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