Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective autonomous contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of autonomous are free, independent, and sovereign. While all these words mean "not subject to the rule or control of another," autonomous stresses independence in matters pertaining to self-government.

in this denomination each congregation is regarded as autonomous

When might free be a better fit than autonomous?

While the synonyms free and autonomous are close in meaning, 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

When is it sensible to use independent instead of autonomous?

The synonyms independent and autonomous are sometimes interchangeable, but 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

When would sovereign be a good substitute for autonomous?

The words sovereign and autonomous can be used in similar contexts, but sovereign stresses the absence of a superior power and implies supremacy within a thing's own domain or sphere.

separate and sovereign armed services

Thesaurus Entries Near autonomous

Cite this Entry

“Autonomous.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/autonomous. Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

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