Ask Difference

Autonomous vs. Independent — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on October 30, 2023
"Autonomous" refers to self-governance or operating without external control, while "Independent" implies freedom from external influence or support.
Autonomous vs. Independent

Difference Between Autonomous and Independent

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Key Differences

"Autonomous" primarily emphasizes the capacity for self-governance or self-regulation, often without external interference. An entity that's autonomous doesn't necessarily need to be independent but possesses the capability to make decisions without external guidance. On the other hand, "Independent" suggests freedom from outside control or support, with the emphasis on standing alone and not being influenced or dependent on others.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023
In the realm of technology, consider "autonomous vehicles." These vehicles operate based on inbuilt algorithms, making decisions without human intervention. However, they might still rely on a parent company for software updates. Conversely, an "independent business" might be one that's not financially or structurally linked to any larger corporation.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023
Regions or territories also shed light on the distinction. An "autonomous region" might have the freedom to govern its internal affairs but is still part of a larger nation. In contrast, an "independent country" has full sovereignty, not under the political control of another country.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023
From a personal perspective, an "autonomous individual" might make decisions without seeking approval but may still rely on others in specific areas. Meanwhile, an "independent person" might pride themselves on not relying on others, both emotionally and materially.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023
In essence, while there's overlap, "Autonomous" leans towards self-regulation or self-governance, often within a larger framework. In contrast, "Independent" speaks to a broader freedom from external influence or dependence.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Nature

Self-governing
Free from external control or support
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Oct 30, 2023

Emphasis

Self-regulation, often within a framework
Freedom from influence or dependence
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Grammatical Role

Adjective describing self-directed action or governance
Adjective describing lack of external ties
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Example Usage

"An autonomous robot"
"An independent filmmaker"
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Associated Terms

Self-directed, self-regulating
Self-reliant, self-sufficient
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Compare with Definitions

Autonomous

Independent in mind or judgment.
He's an autonomous thinker, not influenced by mainstream opinions.
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Oct 30, 2023

Independent

Not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.
He's financially independent at a young age.
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Oct 30, 2023

Autonomous

Not subject to external control or domination.
The university is an autonomous institution.
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Oct 30, 2023

Independent

Not determined by or capable of being deduced.
Independent events in probability aren't influenced by other events.
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Oct 30, 2023

Autonomous

Self-governing with respect to internal affairs.
The region became autonomous after the treaty.
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Oct 30, 2023

Independent

Free from external authority or control.
The nation fought for independent status.
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Autonomous

Operating independently of other systems.
The autonomous module performed its function flawlessly.
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Oct 30, 2023

Independent

Not governed by a foreign power; self-governing.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 07, 2018

Autonomous

Not controlled by others or by outside forces; independent
An autonomous judiciary.
An autonomous division of a corporate conglomerate.
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Free from the influence, guidance, or control of another or others; self-reliant
An independent mind.
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Apr 07, 2018

Autonomous

Independent in mind or judgment; self-directed.
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Not determined or influenced by someone or something else; not contingent
A decision independent of the outcome of the study.
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Autonomous

Independent of the laws of another state or government; self-governing.
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Independent

Often Independent Affiliated with or loyal to no one political party or organization.
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Apr 07, 2018

Autonomous

Of or relating to a self-governing entity
An autonomous legislature.
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Not dependent on or affiliated with a larger or controlling entity
An independent food store.
An independent film.
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Apr 07, 2018

Autonomous

Self-governing with respect to local or internal affairs
An autonomous region of a country.
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Independent

Not relying on others for support, care, or funds; self-supporting.
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Apr 07, 2018

Autonomous

Autonomic.
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Providing or being sufficient income to enable one to live without working
A person of independent means.
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Apr 07, 2018

Autonomous

Self-governing. Intelligent, sentient, self-aware, thinking, feeling, governing independently.
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Not dependent on other variables.
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Apr 07, 2018

Autonomous

Acting on one's own or independently; of a child, acting without being governed by parental or guardian rules.
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Of or relating to a system of equations no one of which can be derived from another equation in the system.
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Apr 07, 2018

Autonomous

Used with no subject, indicating an unknown or unspecified agent; used in similar situations as the passive in English (the difference being that the theme in the English passive construction is the subject, while in the Celtic autonomous construction the theme is the object and there is no subject).
Fiza Rafique
Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Independent Of or relating to the 17th-century English Independents.
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Autonomous

Independent in government; having the right or power of self-government.
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Independent

Often Independent One that is independent, especially a voter, officeholder, or political candidate who is not committed to a political party.
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Autonomous

Having independent existence or laws.
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Independent

Independent A member of a movement in England in the 17th century advocating the political and religious independence of individual congregations.
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Autonomous

Of political bodies;
An autonomous judiciary
A sovereign state
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Independent

Independent Chiefly British A Congregationalist.
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Autonomous

Existing as an independent entity;
The partitioning of India created two separate and autonomous jute economies
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Independent

Not dependent; not contingent or depending on something else; free.
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Apr 07, 2018

Autonomous

Of persons; free from external control and constraint in e.g. action and judgment
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

(politics) Not affiliated with any political party.
The independent candidate
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Apr 07, 2018

Autonomous

Acting or capable of acting independently in one's activities.
The autonomous drone navigated the forest.
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Oct 30, 2023

Independent

Providing a comfortable livelihood.
An independent property
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Not subject to bias or influence; self-directing.
A man of an independent mind
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Separate from; exclusive; irrespective.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 07, 2018

Independent

A candidate or voter not affiliated with any political party, a freethinker, free of a party platform.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 07, 2018

Independent

A neutral or uncommitted person.
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

(sports) A team not affiliated with any league or conference.
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Not dependent; free; not subject to control by others; not relying on others; not subordinate; as, few men are wholly independent.
A dry, but independent crust.
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Affording a comfortable livelihood; as, an independent property.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Not subject to bias or influence; not obsequious; self-directing; as, a man of an independent mind.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Expressing or indicating the feeling of independence; free; easy; bold; unconstrained; as, an independent air or manner.
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Separate from; exclusive; irrespective.
That obligation in general, under which we conceive ourselves bound to obey a law, independent of those resources which the law provides for its own enforcement.
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Belonging or pertaining to, or holding to the doctrines or methods of, the Independents.
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Independent

Not dependent upon another quantity in respect to value or rate of variation; - said of quantities or functions.
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Independent

Not bound by party; exercising a free choice in voting with either or any party.
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Independent

One who believes that an organized Christian church is complete in itself, competent to self-government, and independent of all ecclesiastical authority.
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

One who does not acknowledge an obligation to support a party's candidate under all circumstances; one who exercises liberty in voting.
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

A neutral or uncommitted person (especially in politics)
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

A writer or artist who sells services to different employers without a long-term contract with any of them
Fiza Rafique
Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Free from external control and constraint;
An independent mind
A series of independent judgments
Fiercely independent individualism
An independent republic
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Independent

Not dependent on or conditioned by or relative to anything else
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Independent

Of political bodies;
An autonomous judiciary
A sovereign state
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Independent

Not contingent
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Independent

Of a clause; able to stand alone syntactically as a complete sentence;
The main (or independent) clause in a complex sentence has at least a subject and a verb
Fiza Rafique
Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Not controlled by a party or interest group
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Apr 07, 2018

Independent

Not influenced or controlled by others.
She's an independent thinker.
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Oct 30, 2023

Independent

Not affiliated with any larger controlling entity.
An independent bookstore operates without corporate ties.
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Common Curiosities

Can an independent business be part of a franchise?

Generally, an independent business stands alone, while a franchise has ties to a larger corporate entity.
Fiza Rafique
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How is an autonomous student different from an independent learner?

An autonomous student can self-direct within given frameworks, while an independent learner may seek knowledge without relying on any system.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023

Can a country be both autonomous and independent?

Yes, a country can have self-governance (autonomous) and also be free from external control (independent).
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023

Are autonomous vehicles entirely free of human control?

While autonomous vehicles operate without constant human input, they might need human intervention in specific scenarios.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023

Can a city be autonomous within an independent nation?

Yes, cities can have autonomous powers within the framework of an independent country.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023

Is every independent country sovereign?

Yes, an independent country typically has full sovereignty, recognized by other nations.
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What's the difference between independent and freelance?

Both imply freedom from permanent ties, but independent is broader, while freelance often pertains to work without long-term commitment.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023

Can something be autonomous but not independent?

Yes, an entity can govern itself (autonomous) yet still be part of a larger system, not entirely independent.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023

Is independent film free from all external influences?

An independent film is primarily free from major studios, but it might still be influenced by sponsors or investors.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023

Can an organization be autonomous in decision-making but still get external funding?

Yes, autonomous decision-making doesn't preclude external funding or support.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023

Are all autonomous entities devoid of external influence?

No, autonomous entities often operate within larger systems, so they might have some external influences.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023

Does autonomous imply complete freedom?

Not always. Autonomous emphasizes self-regulation, often within a broader system.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023

How is autonomous different from automated?

Autonomous emphasizes self-governance, while automated refers to something operated by machines, often without human intervention.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023

Is independence always beneficial?

Independence offers freedom, but it also comes with responsibilities and might not always be the best choice depending on context.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023

Is independent always an adjective?

Mostly, but independent can also be a noun, as in "She's a proud independent."
Fiza Rafique
Oct 30, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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