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autonomous (adj.)

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.

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