noun, plural au·ton·o·mies.

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 formsau·ton·o·mist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for autonomy

Contemporary Examples of autonomy

Historical Examples of autonomy

  • The policy of the opposition was coercion, while that of the government was autonomy.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

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

  • An early sense of trust, we see, is necessary for the development of autonomy.

    Herein is Love

    Reuel L. Howe

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

    Herein is Love

    Reuel L. Howe

  • The second objective of love is the achievement of a sense of autonomy.

    Herein is Love

    Reuel L. Howe

British Dictionary definitions for autonomy


noun plural -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 lawsSee also categorical imperative
  2. the state in which one's actions are autonomous
Derived Formsautonomist, noun

Word Origin for autonomy

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

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