From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



Borrowed from Ancient Greek αὐτονομῐ́ᾱ (autonomíā, freedom to use its own laws, independence), from αὐτόνομος (autónomos, living under one's own laws, independent) +‎ -ῐ́ᾱ (-íā, -y, -ia, nominal suffix). By surface analysis, auto- (self) +‎ -nomy (a system of rules or laws about a particular field).



autonomy (countable and uncountable, plural autonomies)

  1. (uncountable) The right or condition of self-government; freedom to act or function independently.
    Antonyms: dependency, heteronomy, servitude, nonautonomy, inoperability
    Coordinate term: sovereignty
    • 1951, Theodor W. Adorno, Minima Moralia[1], Verso, published 2005, page 200:
      But while assiduously dismissing any though of its own autonomy and proclaiming its victims its judges, it outdoes, in its veiled autocracy, all the excesses of autonomous art.
  2. (government, countable) A self-governing country or region.
  3. (philosophy, uncountable) The capacity to make an informed, uncoerced decision.
  4. (mechanics, uncountable) The capacity of a system to make a decision about its actions without the involvement of another system or operator.
    Antonyms: heteronomy, incapacity
    • 1992, Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory, Pantheon Books, page 41:
      ...[T]he fact that a scientific theory finds applications to a wide variety of different phenomena does not imply anything about the autonomy of this theory from deeper physical laws.
  5. (Christianity, uncountable) 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.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]