Having a head bishop who is not responsible to any higher-ranking ecclesiastical authority. Used of churches in the Eastern Orthodox communion.
[From Byzantine Greek autokephalos : auto-, auto- + kephalos, head; see ghebh-el- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
auto·ceph′a·ly (-lē) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.