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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
  • It's easier for the executive, the professional and the self-employed to fulfill this need for autonomy than for other workers.
  • By speaking up, you give her a measure of autonomy, a chance to do what she thinks best.
  • Sound moral development is characterized by an ever increasing degree of autonomy.
  • What really motivates people is the quest for autonomy, mastery and purpose, not external rewards.
  • Parents should focus on developing children's autonomy, their confidence in their own abilities.
  • Telling the story of her life that way was, of course, a final assertion of autonomy.
  • Some owners want more autonomy — not an equal split — in areas such as licensing team logos.
  • Nor has it made her doubt her management style, in which she gives lots of autonomy to division heads.
  • Kids have more money, autonomy and entertainment options than ever.
  • Although central banking systems have varying levels of autonomy, there is generally a significant level of government.
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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