What does autonomy mean?

Definitions for autonomy
ɔˈtɒn ə miau·ton·o·my

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word autonomy.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. autonomy, libertynoun

    immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority: political independence

  2. autonomy, self-direction, self-reliance, self-sufficiencynoun

    personal independence


  1. autonomynoun

    Self-government; freedom to act or function independently.

  2. autonomynoun

    The capacity to make an informed, uncoerced decision.

  3. autonomynoun

    The capacity of a system to make a decision about its actions without the involvement of another system or operator.

  4. Etymology: From αὐτονομία, from αὐτόνομος, from αὐτός + νόμος. See auto- and -nomy.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Autonomynoun

    The living according to one’s mind and prescription. Dict.

    Etymology: ἀυτονομία.


  1. Autonomy

    In developmental psychology and moral, political, and bioethical philosophy, autonomy is the capacity to make an informed, uncoerced decision. Autonomous organizations or institutions are independent or self-governing. Autonomy can also be defined from a human resources perspective, where it denotes a (relatively high) level of discretion granted to an employee in his or her work. In such cases, autonomy is known to generally increase job satisfaction. Self-actualized individuals are thought to operate autonomously of external expectations. In a medical context, respect for a patient's personal autonomy is considered one of many fundamental ethical principles in medicine.


  1. autonomy

    Autonomy refers to the capacity and right of an individual, group, or institution to make independent decisions, govern themselves, and have self-control or self-direction without external influence or interference. This term can be applied in various contexts such as politics, education, psychology, and ethics.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Autonomynoun

    the power or right of self-government; self-government, or political independence, of a city or a state

  2. Autonomynoun

    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

  3. Etymology: [Gr. : cf. F. autonomie. See Autonomous.]


  1. Autonomy

    Autonomy is a concept found in moral, political, and bioethical philosophy. Within these contexts, it is the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision. In moral and political philosophy, autonomy is often used as the basis for determining moral responsibility for one's actions. One of the best known philosophical theories of autonomy was developed by Kant. In medicine, respect for the autonomy of patients is an important goal of deontology, though it can conflict with a competing ethical principle, namely beneficence. Autonomy is also used to refer to the self-government of the people.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Autonomy

    aw-ton′om-i, n. the power or right of self-government: (Kant's philos.) the doctrine that the human will carries its guiding principle within itself.—adjs. Auton′omous, Autonom′ic. [Gr.—autos, and nomos, law.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Autonomy

    in the Kantian metaphysics denotes the sovereign right of the pure reason to be a law to itself.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. autonomy

    The power or right of self-government. This was a privilege jealously preserved in all the important cities of ancient Greece, nearly every one of which was an independent state. The right to make their own laws and elect their own magistrates was also granted by the Romans to some of their cities, and was regarded as a mark of honor.

Editors Contribution

  1. autonomy

    The quality and fact of being autonomous.

    Autonomy is granted to employees as we trust them to make intelligent choices for the shared prosperity of everyone within the company, unity and teamwork makes the plan work.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 31, 2020  

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'autonomy' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #4711

  2. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'autonomy' in Nouns Frequency: #1992

How to pronounce autonomy?

How to say autonomy in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of autonomy in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of autonomy in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of autonomy in a Sentence

  1. Erika Forbes:

    During preschool, children's increasing independence but less-than-optimal self-control can make it especially challenging for mothers (or any caregivers) to set limits, grant autonomy and resolve conflicts, if mothers are depressed, they might find themselves too exhausted or emotionally taxed to engage in the kind of vigorous parenting that preschoolers tend to need.

  2. Lionel Trilling:

    A primary function of art and thought is to liberate the individual from the tyranny of his culture in the environmental sense and to permit him to stand beyond it in an autonomy of perception and judgment.

  3. John Ferrari:

    You have to progress through all of those stages. For NGCV, we can go down that path to get there, ground combat autonomy is probably the hardest level of autonomy possible. Imagine going over terrain that is filled with artillery shells.

  4. Ben Carnahan:

    I'm making about double what I did in the kitchen, it's just a better, nicer job. I get to set my own hours. I have complete and total autonomy and freedom. I'm not getting cuts and burns and working in a 110 degree kitchen and getting occasionally screamed at by a chef.

  5. New York:

    Anti-choice extremists have shown that they are not stopping at overturning Roe, and they are working to entirely dismantle our country’s reproductive health care system, including medication abortion and contraception, new York will always be a safe harbor for abortion care, and I am taking action to protect abortion access in our State and continue to lead the nation in defending the right to reproductive autonomy.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for autonomy

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"autonomy." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/autonomy>.

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    being essentially equal to something
    A equivalent
    B occlusive
    C tacky
    D soft-witted

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