1. Not controlled by others or by outside forces; independent: an autonomous judiciary; an autonomous division of a corporate conglomerate.
2. Independent in mind or judgment; self-directed.
a. Independent of the laws of another state or government; self-governing.
b. Of or relating to a self-governing entity: an autonomous legislature.
c. Self-governing with respect to local or internal affairs: an autonomous region of a country.
[From Greek autonomos : auto-, auto- + nomos, law; see nem- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.