Definition of autonomy in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ôˈtänəmē/

noun (plural autonomies)

1(Of a country or region) the right or condition of self-government, especially in a particular sphere: Tatarstan demanded greater autonomy within the Russian Federation
More example sentences
  • Its aim was to suspend the moves towards separation for three months, whilst negotiating greater autonomy within a federal structure.
  • This allowed for greater autonomy within the boundaries of the Federal Republic.
  • A former province of a state is being prepared for substantial autonomy and self-government.
1.1A self-governing country or region.
Example sentences
  • New accommodations for mixed federalisms, regional autonomies, and neo-nationalisms will be equally needed.
  • Their ultimate objective may be securing some form of statehood for them as autonomies or federation components.
  • To accelerate the transition we'll promote ‘shadow laws' that protect our autonomies from state or market intrusions and slowly reduce the political centre to nothing but administrative functions.
1.2Freedom from external control or influence; independence: economic autonomy is still a long way off for many women
More example sentences
  • There is a price to be paid for foreign capital, in terms of loss of national economic autonomy, freedom of decision, and sovereignty.
  • Personal freedom, individual autonomy and maximum access to information have long been seen as desirable ends in themselves.
  • And do we want to start down that slippery slope to losing control of our hard-won autonomy?
1.3(In Kantian moral philosophy) the capacity of an agent to act in accordance with objective morality rather than under the influence of desires.
Example sentences
  • This section began with a question about the relations among Kantian views of autonomy, rationality, and agential separateness.
  • It is therefore consonant with, indeed an expression of, the personal autonomy that morality should protect and nurture.
  • This means that their criterion for resolving doubts, their criterion of private perfection, is autonomy rather than affiliation to a power other than themselves.



Pronunciation: /-mist/
noun& adjective
Example sentences
  • But it's also going to be a political encounter between different strands of the movement - NGO people, autonomists, environmentalists, the radical left, trade unionists.
  • Both autonomists and reformists also share the idea of an autonomous social movement.
  • Many of the same debates go on, for example, between socialists who stress the role of the organised working class and autonomists who counterpose the actions of small minorities.


Early 17th century: from Greek autonomia, from autonomos 'having its own laws', from autos 'self' + nomos 'law'.

Words that rhyme with autonomy

agronomy, astronomy, bonhomie, Deuteronomy, economy, gastronomy, heteronomy, metonymy, physiognomy, taxonomy

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: au·ton·o·my

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.