Definition of autonomous in English:


Line breaks: au¦tono|mous
Pronunciation: /ɔːˈtɒnəməs


  • 1(Of a country or region) having the freedom to govern itself or control its own affairs: the federation included sixteen autonomous republics
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    • They have established an alternative system of government with autonomous regions, and district and village level authorities.
    • The process was designed, in Stalin's words, to produce republics and autonomous regions that were national in form, but socialist in content.
    • It resembles more a treaty between separate autonomous nation states than a real binding constitution for a single European state.
  • 1.1Having the freedom to act independently: school governors are legally autonomous
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    • These things are now being used as AUVs, autonomous underwater vehicles.
    • The legislators must be made independent and autonomous.
    • It is an autonomous independent body and received its official recognition early in its existence, in 1958.
  • 1.2(In Kantian moral philosophy) acting in accordance with one’s moral duty rather than one’s desires. Compare with heteronomous.
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    • If there is any scope for the will, Vernant notes, it is certainly not autonomous will in the Kantian sense, but a will bound by fear of divine powers, if not actually coerced by them.
    • Being free but not autonomous is a condition Kant called heteronomous.
    • If conforming documents are presented, the bank owes an autonomous duty to the beneficiary to make payment to it at the place designated for payment.



More example sentences
  • When workers act autonomously, they make independent assessments of the organization and the work situation, and act independently.
  • The robot cannot work autonomously - its actions are ‘remote controlled’ by scientists through the computer in its backpack.
  • How, after all, do countries, which for decades were structured as colonies, now develop autonomously?


early 19th century: from Greek autonomos 'having its own laws' + -ous.

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