Definition of autonomy in English:


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nounplural noun autonomies

  • 1The right or condition of self-government.

    ‘Tatarstan demanded greater autonomy within the Russian Federation’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A relatively small group of nationalists demand outright independence for the island while others prefer autonomy within the French Republic.’
    • ‘The central government has said it is prepared to give the province autonomy within a federal system.’
    • ‘Prior to 1917 the Bolsheviks had opposed the concept of federalism, preferring regional autonomy within a unitary state.’
    • ‘It first took up arms in 1949 to demand autonomy from the military government.’
    • ‘It first took up arms in 1949 to demand autonomy from the central government of the time.’
    • ‘It is demanding autonomy for the rich eastern lowland region where the natural gas reserves are concentrated.’
    • ‘To optimists among them, at the very least the war seems to offer an opportunity for enhanced autonomy within a federal state.’
    • ‘Both parties combine calls for greater regional autonomy with demands for a larger share of tax revenues for themselves.’
    • ‘For their part, the latter have signalled their readiness to drop their previous threat to split off from the rest of the country and abandon plans for a referendum on autonomy.’
    • ‘For its part, the government has proposed constitutional changes to give limited autonomy to the north and east.’
    • ‘Peaceful protests were from the beginning dealt with violently, fuelling local sympathies for autonomy or independence.’
    • ‘The political dilemma of balancing a competition-focused business with autonomy for nations and regions is obvious.’
    1. 1.1A self-governing country or region.
      ‘the national autonomies of the Russian Republic’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The aspirations for change were never clear-cut, and from the start they also echoed forms of opposition to absolutism that had very different roots in the defence of older corporate or regional autonomies.’
      • ‘Similar interests in Europe developed courts, parliaments, financial institutions and urban autonomies, often in violent confrontation with monarchy.’
      • ‘Metropolitan authorities could no longer tolerate laxity of administration or tacit autonomies.’
      • ‘City autonomies themselves, at least in the kingdom of Italy, were products of the same process.’
      • ‘There are also fears that the various newly created autonomies will fight over maritime boundaries and resources such as fish.’
      • ‘And so Calanthe remained a partial autonomy; half self-governed and half controlled by the fear of the Liberators.’
    2. 1.2Freedom from external control or influence; independence.
      ‘economic autonomy is still a long way off for many women’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘We might wish to have individual autonomy and to be independent of the world we find ourselves in, but this is not in any way realistic.’
      • ‘Instead it demands a considerable degree of autonomy and nurtures individualism.’
      • ‘Perhaps she was talking about women being self-sufficient, with jobs and resources, freedom and autonomy.’
      • ‘The biographer would enjoy no autonomy or independence whatsoever.’
      • ‘Unlike subjects of experiments or clinical trials, they retain a great deal of personal autonomy as well as control over the research itself.’
      • ‘Emphasize the patient's autonomy and control over the situation.’
      • ‘Subsequently, the army enjoyed an increasing amount of autonomy from political control, and even from the military establishment.’
      • ‘A major task of adolescence is autonomy, and parental controls tend to fall away rapidly during this period.’
      • ‘But many women today are choosing not to marry at all, opting for autonomy and to retain control over their own children.’
      • ‘For many faculty members, what is at issue is not the money, but quality control and professional autonomy.’
      • ‘Patients scheduled to undergo surgical procedures often say that they sense a loss of control and autonomy.’
      • ‘Loss of autonomy and control may cause the young child a great deal of anxiety.’
      • ‘There is a strong association between the principles of autonomy and academic freedom and the idea of a university.’
      • ‘Agencies operate with a good deal of autonomy, within the overall framework set by the transgovernmental network of interior and justice ministries.’
      • ‘I went on to talk about the need for community autonomy from Government intervention.’
      • ‘Respect for personal autonomy and individual human rights was the common thread joining all issues presented at the World Social Forum.’
      • ‘Even after devolution, local government had little autonomy.’
      • ‘The French government had planned to give more autonomy to universities, giving them freedom to increase tuition fees as well as opening the doors to big business.’
      • ‘How can physicians best promote the autonomy of minors while respecting parental autonomy?’
      • ‘The government formally granted universities autonomy over academic and financial affairs.’
      self-government, independence, self-rule, home rule, sovereignty, self-determination, freedom, autarchy
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  • 2(in Kantian moral philosophy) the capacity of an agent to act in accordance with objective morality rather than under the influence of desires.

    ‘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.’
    • ‘According to this incompatibilist conception of autonomy, autonomy is incompatible with determinism.’
    • ‘All virtue is contained in autonomy, all vice in its absence, and all morality is summarized in the imperatives that guide the will.’
    • ‘Actions that are consistent with the dignity and autonomy of moral agents are intrinsically good.’
    • ‘Immanuel Kant emphasized that morality was inseparable from true autonomy: the autonomous human agent chose to submit himself to the moral law.’
    • ‘Rather than locating human dignity in God or nature, Kant exalted man's autonomy - his ability to make and obey the moral law.’
    • ‘Yes, in Kantian terms, respect for autonomy is closely related to the categorical imperative of treating people as ends and not means.’



/ôˈtänəmē/ /ɔˈtɑnəmi/


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