Definition of autonomous in English:

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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
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
self-governing, independent, sovereign, free, self-ruling, self-determining, autarchic;
1.2(In Kantian moral philosophy) acting in accordance with one’s moral duty rather than one’s desires. Compare with heteronomous.
Example sentences
  • 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.


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

Words that rhyme with autonomous

bonhomous, heteronomous
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