Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective independent contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of independent are autonomous, free, and sovereign. While all these words mean "not subject to the rule or control of another," 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

Where would autonomous be a reasonable alternative to independent?

Although the words autonomous and independent have much in common, autonomous stresses independence in matters pertaining to self-government.

in this denomination each congregation is regarded as autonomous

When can free be used instead of independent?

While in some cases nearly identical to independent, 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 could sovereign be used to replace independent?

The synonyms sovereign and independent are sometimes interchangeable, 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 independent

Cite this Entry

“Independent.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on independent

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!