Definition of autonomous in English:


See synonyms for autonomous

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  • 1(of a country or region) having the freedom to govern itself or control its own affairs.

    ‘the federation included sixteen autonomous republics’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Farmers held protests last week in 11 of the country's autonomous regions, calling for compensation.’
    • ‘By contrast the perspective of creating a separate state or an autonomous region was geared to the requirements of the elite.’
    • ‘The State Council has stipulated that each province, municipality and autonomous region must report on traffic safety every quarter.’
    • ‘The country is divided into twenty-three provinces, five autonomous regions, and four municipalities.’
    • ‘The Spanish government designated it as an autonomous region in 1985.’
    • ‘The arid land of this autonomous republic supports a nomadic lifestyle.’
    • ‘Soon it was in conflict with an autonomous republic in its territory, which it wanted to retain.’
    • ‘But those elections may not prevent the country effectively dividing into three autonomous regions.’
    • ‘There were seventeen of them - one minister from each of the seventeen autonomous regions.’
    • ‘The autonomous region is now in the next stage of a grindingly long battle between tradition and modernity.’
    • ‘The Aland Islands are a self-governing autonomous part of Finland.’
    • ‘There is no autonomous indigenous community, independent of the state.’
    • ‘Federalism is a trickier concept in the European context because the Member States are not political subdivisions of the Union, but rather sovereign and autonomous entities.’
    1. 1.1Having the freedom to act independently.
      ‘an autonomous committee of the school board’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He says that those organization do not have a tradition of operating as independent, autonomous entities.’
      • ‘In a patriarchal society men fear independent autonomous women.’
      • ‘We think that we determine our own fates, that we are free and autonomous individuals, when in fact we live in bubbles whose preconditions would scare us if we knew just how numerous they are.’
      • ‘The government should not force us to act in our own best interests but leave us free to make autonomous decisions about how to live our lives, with all the risks that involves.’
      • ‘I believe that a woman's right to choose gets to the very heart of what it means to be an autonomous, free human being.’
      • ‘I just want to be alone, autonomous, independent, you know what I mean?’
      • ‘Will she need a smaller, more supportive environment or is she autonomous and independent enough to thrive on a big campus?’
      • ‘They are one of the most autonomous and independent of animals, which is why you don't find a wolf act at the circus.’
      • ‘An autonomous, independent press is still the most powerful bulwark of democracy.’
      • ‘This is quite different from the traditional way in which children grow, become independent and autonomous.’
      • ‘This crisis has proved that high income is not synonymous with a civic society that is independent and autonomous.’
      • ‘Since independence, a new autonomous legal system has been developing.’
      • ‘The academics claim pupils who had been spoon-fed at independent schools were less able to cope with autonomous learning.’
      • ‘The establishment of the University as an autonomous statutory body independent of Government is supported by many provisions in the University Act.’
      • ‘Buffon was among the first to create an autonomous science, free of any theological influence.’
      • ‘Yet the autonomous individual, gloriously independent in his decisionmaking, can easily seem to be a fantasy.’
      • ‘The growth of independence is surely a part of becoming autonomous during adolescence, but autonomy means more than behaving independently.’
      • ‘There is no formal independence because the Central Bank is not formally autonomous, but there is a practical independence.’
      • ‘It is an independent inquiry run by an autonomous team.’
      self-governing, independent, sovereign, free, self-ruling, self-determining, autarchic
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Denoting or performed by a device capable of operating without direct human control.
      ‘autonomous underwater vehicles’
      • ‘the spread of autonomous robotic weaponry’
      • ‘tests indicate that autonomous driving will cut fuel consumption by up to five percent’
      • ‘In this era of computer viruses and military drones, computer scientists are right to worry about the dangers of autonomous machines with rogue programs running amok.’
      • ‘The agency sees the race primarily as a tool to spur development of autonomous ground vehicles.’
      • ‘The first crude examples of autonomous weapons were probably the early experiments by the US Navy and Sperry Gyroscope Company on unpiloted aircraft during the last years of the First World War.’
      • ‘In the future, robots and autonomous agents will be able to learn language and world understanding from humans.’
      • ‘No one thinks the robots will be completely autonomous any time soon.’
      • ‘Powered by such autonomous “biofuel cells”, the machine would never require a change of battery.’
      • ‘The prospect of a robotic cleaner edges closer with Dyson's new dual cyclone DC06 that is autonomous and labour-saving because it does not need to be programmed, but can actually think for itself.’
      • ‘The long-term goal is to eventually create autonomous, programmable molecular computing tools that can operate in vivo, eventually inside the human body, and function as “doctors in a cell”.’
      • ‘The heat switch is another autonomous device that moderates a heat transfer path in order to maintain a specific battery temperature.’
      • ‘Researches at TCD are combining autonomous computer control with everyday devices to eliminate the need for human intervention.’
  • 2(in Kantian moral philosophy) acting in accordance with one's moral duty rather than one's desires.

    ‘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.’
    • ‘The human subject, conceived as a unitary self capable of autonomous action and meaningful moral judgement, is one such fiction with which we have deceived ourselves.’
    • ‘The obscurities of agent-causation are enough to prevent most philosophers from embracing this conception of autonomous agency.’
    • ‘Kant now develops his conception of the autonomous agent.’



/ôˈtänəməs/ /ɔˈtɑnəməs/


Late 17th century from Greek autonomos ‘having its own laws’+ -ous.