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[aw-ton-uh-mee] /ɔˈtɒn ə mi/
noun, plural autonomies.
independence or freedom, as of the will or one's actions:
the autonomy of the individual.
the condition of being autonomous; self-government or the right of self-government:
The rebels demanded autonomy from Spain.
a self-governing community.
Origin of autonomy
1615-25; < Greek autonomía independence, equivalent to autónom(os) autonomous + -ia -y3
Related forms
autonomist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for autonomy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Noble and pious utterance, artless cry of independence, in which the conscience proudly proclaims its autonomy!

  • And just as he was opposed to the union with Italy, so likewise was he opposed to autonomy.

  • Under the rule of the Bolsheviki the local organs of Jewish autonomy in the Ukraine were entirely destroyed.

  • In so doing, he begins to achieve some degree of autonomy as an independent person.

    Herein is Love Reuel L. Howe
  • The Forest Cantons, having grown into three independent republics, claimed each separate administration or autonomy.

British Dictionary definitions for autonomy


noun (pl) -mies
the right or state of self-government, esp when limited
a state, community, or individual possessing autonomy
freedom to determine one's own actions, behaviour, etc
  1. the doctrine that the individual human will is or ought to be governed only by its own principles and laws See also categorical imperative
  2. the state in which one's actions are autonomous
Derived Forms
autonomist, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Greek autonomia freedom to live by one's own laws; see autonomous
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for autonomy

1620s, of states, from Greek autonomia "independence," noun of quality from autonomos "independent, living by one's own laws," from auto- "self" (see auto-) + nomos "custom, law" (see numismatics). Of persons, from 1803.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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