"autonomous condition, power or right of self-government," 1620s, of states, from Greek autonomia "independence," abstract noun from autonomos "independent, living by one's own laws," from autos "self" (see auto-) + nomos "custom, law" (from PIE root *nem- "assign, allot; take"). Of persons, from 1803. In Kantian metaphysics, "doctrine of the Will giving itself its own law, based on conscience."
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "assign, allot; take."
It forms all or part of: agronomy; anomie; anomy; antinomian; antinomy; astronomer; astronomy; autonomous; autonomy; benumb; Deuteronomy; economy; enumerate; enumeration; gastronomy; heteronomy; innumerable; metronome; namaste; nemesis; nimble; nim; nomad; nomothetic; numb; numeracy; numeral; numerator; numerical; numerology; numerous; numismatic; supernumerary; taxonomy.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek nemein "to deal out," nemesis "just indignation;" Latin numerus "number;" Lithuanian nuoma "rent, interest;" Middle Irish nos "custom, usage;" German nehmen "to take."
1777, "subject to its own laws" (in translations of Montesquieu); 1780, "pertaining to autonomy;" from Greek autonomos "having one's own laws," of animals, "feeding or ranging at will," from autos "self" (see auto-) + nomos "law" (from PIE root *nem- "assign, allot; take"). Compare privilege. Used mostly in metaphysics and politics; see autonomic. Related: Autonomously.