from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The condition or quality of being autonomous; independence.
  • noun Self-government or the right of self-government; self-determination.
  • noun Self-government with respect to local or internal affairs.
  • noun A self-governing state, community, or group.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The power or right of self-government, whether in a community which elects its own magistrates and makes its own laws, or in an individual who acts according to his own will.
  • noun A self-governing community.
  • noun An autonomous condition; the condition of being subject only to its own laws; especially, in biology, organic independence.
  • noun In the philos. of Kant, the doctrine that the moral law is one which reason imposes upon itself a priori, that is, independently of sense and sense-experience, and is therefore absolute and immutable: opposed to heteronomy (which see).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The power or right of self-government; self-government, or political independence, of a city or a state.
  • noun (Metaph.) The sovereignty of reason in the sphere of morals; or man's power, as possessed of reason, to give law to himself. In this, according to Kant, consist the true nature and only possible proof of liberty.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Self-government; freedom to act or function independently.
  • noun philosophy The capacity to make an informed, uncoerced decision.
  • noun mechanics The capacity of a system to make a decision about its actions without the involvement of another system or operator.
  • noun Christianity The status of a church whose highest-ranking bishop is appointed by the patriarch of the mother church, but which is self-governing in all other respects. Compare autocephaly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun personal independence
  • noun immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority: political independence


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Greek autonomiā, from autonomos, self-ruling; see autonomous.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek αὐτονομία (autonomia), from αὐτόνομος (autonomos), from αὐτός (autos, "self") + νόμος (nomos, "law"). See auto- ("self") and -nomy ("a system of rules or laws about a particular field").


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  • "For any created being, autonomy is lunacy." The Shack by WM Paul

    October 1, 2010

  • Over the phone I could feel his will to autonomy. There was someone he should okay it with, someone he didn't like. Whoever this person was their days of unchallenged leadership were numbered. Ellis liked me more than he liked them.

    March 24, 2012