Definition of independent in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪndɪˈpɛnd(ə)nt/


1Free from outside control; not subject to another’s authority: an independent nuclear deterrent the study is totally independent of central government
More example sentences
  • Outside controls or independent reviews could have provided such safeguards.
  • There is an area that remains more or less independent of the control of the government.
  • These agencies were entrusted with independent legislative authority on a federal level.
undisciplined, wild, wilful, headstrong, contrary
1.1(Of a country) self-governing: India became independent in 1947
More example sentences
  • The six-country tour will also underpin the fact that the island is a sovereign, independent country, he said.
  • Bangladesh later separated from Pakistan and East Timor which at the time was a Portuguese colony but is now an independent country.
  • If New Zealand is to develop as a fully independent country we must give all our people equal access to justice, and not just a privileged few.
1.2Not belonging to or supported by a political party: the independent candidate
More example sentences
  • When the matter went to Parliament, all political parties supported an independent Complaints Commission.
  • Support for independent candidates and smaller parties has also risen, but in the locals rather than the Euro elections.
  • The few independent candidates with political potential are quickly recruited by the parties.
1.3(Of broadcasting, a school, etc.) not supported by public funds: an independent girls' school independent television
More example sentences
  • Academies are independent schools funded by public money.
  • The bill would have introduced a public benefit test for independent schools ensuring they prove they offer a benefit to the public and not just fee-payers.
  • The Department for Education and Skills said no formal approach had been made by the schools, but it was not government policy to fund independent schools.
private, public, non-state-controlled, non-state-run, non-public, private-sector, private-enterprise, fee-paying, commercial;
1.4 (Independent) historical Congregational.
2Not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence: I wanted to remain independent in old age
More example sentences
  • Neddy was a very independent person who lived life quietly in Ballingarry.
  • It's hard to go from a very, independent woman to depending on others.
  • You think of yourself as independent, you want to be independent, but you depend on Alex more than anyone.
self-sufficient, self-supporting, self-sustaining, self-reliant, self-standing, able to stand on one's own two feet;
self-contained, self-made
informal living on one's hump
2.1(Of income or resources) making it unnecessary to earn one’s living: a woman of independent means
More example sentences
  • From about the early 1880s he had independent income and so he devoted himself to the problem of flight.
3Capable of thinking or acting for oneself: advice for independent travellers
More example sentences
  • Will there be future developments that will once again force us to review the age at which we see a foetus as a human capable of independent survival?
  • A toy capable of totally independent thought would be way too freaky.
  • This had meant that Chris was very independent and more than capable of fending for himself on his own.
3.1Not influenced by others; impartial: a thorough and independent investigation of the case
More example sentences
  • He said the matter deserves an impartial, independent investigation.
  • The European Convention on Human Rights demands a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal.
  • Under such circumstances, how can one ensure a fair and independent investigation?
without favouritism, free from discrimination, non-discriminatory, with no axe to grind, without fear or favour
informal on the fence
4Not connected with another or with each other; separate: treating each factory as an independent unit of production the legislature and the judicature are independent of one another
More example sentences
  • Sponge cells perform a variety of bodily functions and appear to be more independent of each other than are the cells of other animals.
  • If the value of an element is independent of the presence of another element, both elements are said to be independent from each other.
  • The different functions can often be assigned to conserved amino acid motifs which are separated into independent structural units.
unconnected, unrelated, unassociated, dissociated, unattached, separate
4.1Not depending on something else for strength or effectiveness; free-standing: an independent electric shower
More example sentences
  • Unknown is whether speed and accuracy are really independent measures of strategy effectiveness in computational estimation.
  • If treatment effects are independent the relative risk with two or more treatments is the product of the relative risk on each treatment.
  • The multiplier of the hazard rate is the independent multiplicative effect of a variable on what a rate would have been otherwise.
4.2 Mathematics (Of one of a set of axioms, equations, or quantities) incapable of being expressed in terms of, or derived or deduced from, the others.
Example sentences
  • We used a parameterization process to reduce these parameters to 36 independent ones.
  • However he also showed that linear sentence systems do have independent axiom systems.
  • Ideally, the inverse problem consists of N independent linear equations.


1An independent person or body: one of the few independents left in the music business
More example sentences
  • In fact, most were published by university presses, the federal government or small independents.
  • Hunter claims most of the real talent in Scotland is to be found in the small independents started by people fed up with big company culture.
  • In turn, competition has forced the independents to upgrade quality and comfort.
1.1An independent political candidate: he stood unsuccessfully as an independent in 1992
More example sentences
  • The ten presidential candidates, including independents, were listed in two columns.
  • At that time the ruling party captured 193 seats, though many of these candidates ran as independents.
  • In 1935, she retired from teaching to stand for Parliament as an independent.
1.2 (Independent) historical A Congregationalist.
Example sentences
  • They were part of English nonconformity which included Independents and Quakers.
  • On another side were the Independents, who wanted to do away with the Anglican Church altogether.
  • The radicals wanted it all - these were the Independents and Oliver Cromwell was emerging as their leader.


Early 17th century (as an adjective): partly on the pattern of French indépendant.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in|de¦pend|ent

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