Definition of independent in US English:



  • 1Free from outside control; not depending on another's authority.

    ‘the study is totally independent of central government’
    ‘Canada's largest independent investment firm’
    • ‘You can also get standard-rate tax relief if you pay service charges to local authorities and other independent contractors.’
    • ‘Without missing a beat, the Senator proposed an new independent authority to handle complaints.’
    • ‘The school, which has about 370 students, has been the subject of an independent inquiry.’
    • ‘Action is required now to ensure the allocation of all Lottery money is independent and free from the control of politicians.’
    • ‘This committee should therefore be independent and have the authority to test out proposed rates by producers and monitor implementation.’
    • ‘The statement is now available for a second time for people to comment on, and it will be subject to an independent examination later this year.’
    • ‘An alternative is to become an independent contractor to the agency.’
    • ‘It's going to be - the judiciary system in this country is independent.’
    • ‘These agencies were entrusted with independent legislative authority on a federal level.’
    • ‘There is an area that remains more or less independent of the control of the government.’
    • ‘Well, we've got to retain our nuclear deterrent, and we've had an independent nuclear deterrent for a long time.’
    • ‘The modern criminal-court system makes it very difficult for a grand jury to exercise any independent authority.’
    • ‘However, such a set-up calls for an independent authority to monitor the functioning of these institutions.’
    • ‘The antennae had been installed following consultation with local authorities and assessment by independent safety consultants, and were safe.’
    • ‘Outside controls or independent reviews could have provided such safeguards.’
    • ‘The Commission is an independent authority which aims to achieve dual goals of reconciliation and justice.’
    • ‘Is it time now for an outside independent commission to take a look at the intelligence, which apparently was faulty?’
    • ‘The Lebanese people are the ones who want a country that is sovereign and independent and free from outside interference.’
    • ‘It recommended that the agency be subject to an independent review.’
    freethinking, individualistic, unconventional, maverick
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a country) self-governing.
      ‘India became independent in 1947’
      • ‘The six-country tour will also underpin the fact that the island is a sovereign, independent country, he said.’
      • ‘Once the Soviet Union broke apart, Kazakhstan became an independent country.’
      • ‘Bangladesh later separated from Pakistan and East Timor which at the time was a Portuguese colony but is now an independent country.’
      • ‘The statue was erected in 1962 to welcome foreign visitors to the then young independent country.’
      • ‘He's promoted and encouraged the idea of distinct Taiwanese identity and said his country is already independent.’
      • ‘In 1948 the island, then an independent country, voted in a referendum to become the 10th province of Canada.’
      • ‘Many of the states were too small or awkwardly located to survive as independent countries.’
      • ‘Now it is all different, of course, and we are an independent country.’
      • ‘Life's getting harder in this so-called independent country, let alone for people in the low-income bracket like me.’
      • ‘The British government officially recognised Madagascar as an independent country in 1820.’
      • ‘Taiwan is clearly an independent country with its own sovereignty.’
      • ‘I don't think we are ready to govern an independent country.’
      • ‘Please let's change and be people with brave hearts and forget all about violence against any particular sex in this independent country.’
      • ‘If New Zealand is to develop as a fully independent country we must give all our people equal access to justice, and not just a privileged few.’
      • ‘How can you be proud of being an independent country if the government is unable to improve its citizens' welfare?’
      • ‘Kazakhstan is now an independent country, but for decades it was part of the Soviet Union.’
      • ‘His concept can be used in meeting just demands of a people in their own independent country if the rulers fail in their duty.’
      • ‘He promised to continue ignoring the fact that Cuba is an independent country, not a US colony.’
      • ‘In 1962, Jamaica became an independent country after 300 years of British rule.’
      • ‘Australia doesn't even need to be a republic to be a proud, confident and independent country.’
      self-governing, self-legislating, self-determining, sovereign, autonomous, autonomic, autarkic, free, non-aligned
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Not belonging to or supported by a political party.
      ‘the independent candidate’
      • ‘Lenin did not invent the concept of the party or of the independent political organization of the working class.’
      • ‘The great weakness of the American workers movement historically has been its inability to establish an independent political party.’
      • ‘The remaining 8 seats were clinched by splinter parties or independent candidates.’
      • ‘When the matter went to Parliament, all political parties supported an independent Complaints Commission.’
      • ‘Democracy presupposes independent political parties and an electorate willing to debate issues and vote accordingly.’
      • ‘The time has come for the American working class to begin the arduous task of constructing an independent political party.’
      • ‘So now we have voter apathy across the board, adversely affecting both parties, and independent candidates fared worse.’
      • ‘Working people can defend their interests only through the establishment of their own independent political party.’
      • ‘Its founding in 1906 represented the first step by British workers towards their own independent political party.’
      • ‘In time, this should improve the prospects of third parties and independent candidates.’
      • ‘However, ward councillors can either join a new political party or become independent councillors.’
      • ‘Support for independent candidates and smaller parties has also risen, but in the locals rather than the Euro elections.’
      • ‘They strive to be independent from political parties and openly battle government-controlled organizations.’
      • ‘There are also minor party and independent candidates in many ridings, who generally deserve far more consideration than they receive.’
      • ‘The few independent candidates with political potential are quickly recruited by the parties.’
      • ‘It demands the building of a new independent political party.’
      • ‘This campaign exposed the ballot access barriers that confront all third party and independent candidates.’
      • ‘Instead of listening to other political parties and to independent experts he consistently and viciously denigrated all opposition.’
      • ‘Those two seats went to candidates from little-known independent parties.’
      • ‘Half of them prefer party nominees to independent candidates.’
    3. 1.3 (of broadcasting, a school, etc.) not supported by public funds.
      • ‘There are more than 70 independent schools in Scotland - just under a quarter of which are in and around Edinburgh.’
      • ‘The borough's independent schools joined in the celebrations.’
      • ‘This could also be the reason why few pupils go from public schools to independent schools.’
      • ‘The overall pass rate this year for all schools, including both state and independent schools, was 69.6%.’
      • ‘The bill would have introduced a public benefit test for independent schools ensuring they prove they offer a benefit to the public and not just fee-payers.’
      • ‘The selection procedure for independent schools is, for parents and children alike, a nerve-wracking experience.’
      • ‘A cheeky calendar starring boys from a posh independent school has won a group of girl pupils a business award.’
      • ‘A new Charity Act will require independent schools to show they are meeting a public benefit test.’
      • ‘Collaboration amongst educators across public, Catholic and independent schools is difficult to say the least.’
      • ‘The group also runs two independent schools and three private nurseries in Wakefield and Barnsley.’
      • ‘He insisted independent schools from all faiths had a role to play in encouraging understanding of people from different backgrounds.’
      • ‘There are also independent schools which are boarding or day, senior or junior, rural or urban, large or small.’
      • ‘What is on the screen will depend on whether the Council teams up with public space broadcasts or independent programmers.’
      • ‘Academies are independent schools funded by public money.’
      • ‘So we will help parents and other groups establish a new generation of independent schools funded by the state.’
      • ‘One academic says the proposal will increase the gap between State and independent schools to an alarming degree.’
      • ‘If you had a quota, you might actually say we will only make offers to 20% of independent school applicants.’
      • ‘Head teachers at other independent schools said above-inflation fee hikes were necessary to meet a number of rising costs.’
      • ‘The Department for Education and Skills said no formal approach had been made by the schools, but it was not government policy to fund independent schools.’
      • ‘Nothing surprising there; with a higher per capita budget, independent schools of course do better on that score.’
      private, public, non-state-controlled, non-state-run, non-public, private-sector, private-enterprise, fee-paying, commercial
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4historical Congregational.
  • 2Not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.

    ‘I wanted to remain independent in old age’
    • ‘Neddy was a very independent person who lived life quietly in Ballingarry.’
    • ‘Like most Australian girls, I was intrigued by a man who could be so self reliant and independent in the bush.’
    • ‘I was now independent, and wasn't planning on depending on anyone for awhile.’
    • ‘It is partly due to his weaknesses that I became independent and self-reliant.’
    • ‘Plus she is very much an independent, self sufficient woman, but also with a softer side!’
    • ‘You think of yourself as independent, you want to be independent, but you depend on Alex more than anyone.’
    • ‘It's hard to go from a very, independent woman to depending on others.’
    • ‘His father was a stonemason and architect who brought up his children to be independent and self reliant.’
    • ‘To most people, Teddy often came off as far more independent and self-sufficient than most other boys his age.’
    • ‘They did not claim to be victims; they presented as a rugged, stoical, independent, self-reliant yeomanry.’
    • ‘Not only were you beautiful but you were also smart, self-sufficient, independent and strong.’
    • ‘It can help children take their first steps towards being more independent and self reliant.’
    • ‘Due to this and various things in adult life I have a real aversion to depending on people, not being independent.’
    • ‘Teenagers are forever pushing out their boundaries as they strive to be independent and self sufficient.’
    • ‘Self-reliant and independent, they do not necessarily take pride in their local community.’
    • ‘Clearly, she was an independent, self-sufficient child as only children often are, but she was imaginative too, and a great reader.’
    • ‘They are remarkably independent and self reliant and this is what drives me mad!’
    • ‘She was fiercely independent and very self sufficient and I got the idea that she didn't like being babied or fussed over by men.’
    • ‘They are also a form of social policy that has the objective of making people more independent and thus self-reliant.’
    • ‘Because I wanted her to be independent and not to have to depend on some man for her living…’
    self-sufficient, self-supporting, self-sustaining, self-reliant, self-standing, able to stand on one's own two feet
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 (of income or resources) making it unnecessary to earn one's living.
      ‘a woman of independent means’
      • ‘From about the early 1880s he had independent income and so he devoted himself to the problem of flight.’
  • 3Capable of thinking or acting for oneself.

    ‘advice for independent travelers’
    • ‘Her music career, like her acting career, is as independent as she is.’
    • ‘A molecule is the smallest unit of a substance capable of independent existence.’
    • ‘A toy capable of totally independent thought would be way too freaky.’
    • ‘Will there be future developments that will once again force us to review the age at which we see a foetus as a human capable of independent survival?’
    • ‘There are two separate engines, one on each side of a locomotive and capable of independent operation.’
    • ‘Stroke rehabilitation is designed to help you return to independent living.’
    • ‘The advantage of being part of a tour is gaining access to experiences that would be practically impossible for an independent traveller.’
    • ‘This had meant that Chris was very independent and more than capable of fending for himself on his own.’
    • ‘However, the overland crossing between Thailand and Malaysia has become a very popular independent traveller's route.’
    • ‘And if there's a food place with a good write up in the independent travellers' bible, lo and behold, many food shops change their names to match.’
    • ‘I suggested that attracting backpackers and independent travellers would be a good way to get that ball rolling.’
    • ‘They respond readily to a simple telepathic command, but as you can see, they are capable of independent action and collaboration as a group.’
    • ‘Balanced with that is the wish of older people to maintain independent living with their own front door rather than to move into more traditional residential homes.’
    • ‘They wanted to be independent, strong, capable of standing on their own two feet.’
    • ‘John is an independent adult, legally capable of making his own decisions.’
    • ‘Get out while you're still capable of independent thought and action.’
    • ‘They have great scripts, great acting, an independent voice and are marketable.’
    • ‘It provided them with training opportunities, courses and help with independent living.’
    • ‘We want them to be steeped in the democratic process and capable of independent thinking on all kinds of issues great and small.’
    1. 3.1 Not influenced or affected by others; impartial.
      ‘a thorough and independent investigation of the case’
      • ‘He said the matter deserves an impartial, independent investigation.’
      • ‘No one will take seriously a body that is not seen to be independent and impartial.’
      • ‘This is the only way to ensure that the people of Taiwan receive fair, objective and independent perspectives.’
      • ‘In consequence, the judge is able to act, and to be seen to act, as an impartial and independent adjudicator.’
      • ‘They falsely pretend to be impartial and independent, or patronisingly portray themselves to be the same as ordinary people.’
      • ‘The requirement that the tribunal should be independent and impartial is one that has long been recognised by English common law.’
      • ‘The ads should also be subject to independent oversight.’
      • ‘Under such circumstances, how can one ensure a fair and independent investigation?’
      • ‘Providing minimal information which is not capable of independent verification should alert you that something may be wrong.’
      • ‘Again, the service is independent, impartial and confidential.’
      • ‘The European Convention on Human Rights demands a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal.’
      • ‘That is a perfect example of the philosophy of the office of the independent counsel in this investigation.’
      • ‘The administration is conducting an internal review, but momentum for an independent investigation is growing.’
      • ‘International law requires that every criminal court be competent, independent and impartial.’
      • ‘Bacon was capable of offering independent advice and increasingly hostile towards Mary, queen of Scots.’
      • ‘There will be no such thing as a completely independent investigation.’
      • ‘And the Federal Bureau of Investigation is also conducting an independent investigation.’
      • ‘An independent investigation in to the Trust's waiting figures is now taking place, at the request of the government.’
      • ‘News and commentary have never been more interesting and diverse than they are today under the influence of independent media.’
      • ‘The sacking was for unspecified professional misconduct after an independent investigation into allegations that he had an affair with a patient.’
      impartial, unbiased, unprejudiced, neutral, disinterested, uninvolved, uncommitted, detached, dispassionate, objective, open-minded, equitable, non-partisan, even-handed, fair, fair-minded, just
      View synonyms
  • 4Not connected with another or with each other; separate.

    ‘the legislature and the judicature are independent of each other’
    ‘we need two independent witnesses to testify’
    • ‘They argue for a multilevel approach with conceptually independent but ontologically connected domains.’
    • ‘Such an argument suggests that language acquisition and language socialization are independent from each other.’
    • ‘The different functions can often be assigned to conserved amino acid motifs which are separated into independent structural units.’
    • ‘Three independent populations separated by straight lines were positioned on the unit square.’
    • ‘The result is that for most of the game the board cannot be broken down into independent components.’
    • ‘That is a separate, independent issue from what security arrangements we have.’
    • ‘Positive and negative feedback are not independent from each other.’
    • ‘Once in orbit, multiple independent warheads separated from the missile bodies and angled toward the surface.’
    • ‘It should be mentioned that these 11 requirements are not independent from each other.’
    • ‘Social, economic, and environmental spheres are not independent from each other.’
    • ‘If the value of an element is independent of the presence of another element, both elements are said to be independent from each other.’
    • ‘Peatlands occur in low-energy settings and are more independent of adjacent landscape units.’
    • ‘Allowing each other to be independent whilst still a couple.’
    • ‘These two domains are functionally independent and have had separate evolutionary origins.’
    • ‘Sponge cells perform a variety of bodily functions and appear to be more independent of each other than are the cells of other animals.’
    • ‘He pointed out that the university's hostels are run as a separate and independent business.’
    • ‘Why are separate and independent events seen as interrelated parts of a sequence?’
    • ‘These parts were assumed to be statistically independent from each other.’
    • ‘They are connected but separate events, with independent laws of causality.’
    • ‘Pressure and shear have an independent influence on wound healing, especially on ischemic wounds.’
    unconnected, unrelated, unassociated, dissociated, unattached, separate
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1 Not depending on something else for strength or effectiveness; freestanding.
      ‘an independent electric shower’
      • ‘Fortunately the shower is electric, and we have an independent gas fire.’
      • ‘Unknown is whether speed and accuracy are really independent measures of strategy effectiveness in computational estimation.’
      • ‘The multiplier of the hazard rate is the independent multiplicative effect of a variable on what a rate would have been otherwise.’
      • ‘If treatment effects are independent the relative risk with two or more treatments is the product of the relative risk on each treatment.’
      separate, discrete, different, distinct, free-standing, self-contained, complete
      View synonyms
    2. 4.2Mathematics (of one of a set of axioms, equations, or quantities) incapable of being expressed in terms of, or derived or deduced from, the others.
      • ‘However he also showed that linear sentence systems do have independent axiom systems.’
      • ‘Some rate Severi's discovery of a base of algebraically independent curves on any surface as his most important contribution.’
      • ‘With a multiallelic locus, there are more independent equations than the parameters to be estimated.’
      • ‘We used a parameterization process to reduce these parameters to 36 independent ones.’
      • ‘Ideally, the inverse problem consists of N independent linear equations.’


  • 1An independent person or body.

    • ‘Meanwhile, the share of independents in the business is on the rise.’
    • ‘In fact, most were published by university presses, the federal government or small independents.’
    • ‘Places bereft of major retailers are generally in decline and it's independents and charity shops that move in like weeds rather than chain stores.’
    • ‘The biggest problem I see is independents struggling to produce quality television shows.’
    • ‘No boy bands allowed - the performers are proud independents without the backing of a major label.’
    • ‘Sinclair's team also produces high-level industry research of practical use to independents.’
    • ‘Smaller independents gleaned new business and defined themselves as the industry's new area of growth.’
    • ‘Hunter claims most of the real talent in Scotland is to be found in the small independents started by people fed up with big company culture.’
    • ‘Well, some firms have dispensed with their in-house provision and now use the services of independents.’
    • ‘In the gaping maw of publishing, the independents tend to be modest about their work.’
    • ‘A few doughty independents and specialist dealers aside, the bookselling business in Britain is now irretrievably homogenised.’
    • ‘A lower limit would encourage the entry of independents and promote competition.’
    • ‘In turn, competition has forced the independents to upgrade quality and comfort.’
    • ‘It was the perfect opportunity to bring the independents and commissioning editors together.’
    • ‘Each board will be made up of 15 members, eight tenants, five independents and two councillors.’
    1. 1.1 An independent political candidate, voter, etc.
      • ‘As well as the big three parties, other groups looking for your vote include the Greens, Socialist Alliance and various independents.’
      • ‘He hasn't sat on the board for a few years but it is still stacked full of 5 cronies with not a single independent to be seen anywhere.’
      • ‘The ten presidential candidates, including independents, were listed in two columns.’
      • ‘But so far no way has been found to make democracy and government work with independents.’
      • ‘Many of the independents are opposition candidates whose parties have been banned.’
      • ‘Labour Students and the organised independents who dominate the executive retreated from their original plan.’
      • ‘The extreme right wing British National Party has its first four representatives while there are three Greens and an independent on the new council.’
      • ‘It very quickly grew, drawing in people from other left wing parties and many independents from the social movements and trade unions.’
      • ‘We need to prove to the moderates, independents and western libertarians that we are tough enough.’
      • ‘After the recent election we again have four Greens and three progressive independents out of 10 councillors.’
      • ‘More than once, it has crossed my mind to stand for election to the council as an independent.’
      • ‘He was an independent at Highland council and was only inducted into the Labour party on the eve of devolution.’
      • ‘In 1935, she retired from teaching to stand for Parliament as an independent.’
      • ‘So I think where there are worthy alternatives in the minor parties and independents, people are having a very serious think.’
      • ‘He tried two or three times to get into Parliament as an independent.’
      • ‘The government of Nunavut will be a non-party system and members run as independents and will govern by consensus.’
      • ‘After a somewhat cursory examination, the Commission told the independents late in February that it was doing nothing.’
      • ‘At that time the ruling party captured 193 seats, though many of these candidates ran as independents.’
      • ‘First, I have no idea why Steve thinks all three independents are with the government.’
      • ‘So to win government, even with the support of the other five independents, the Coalition would need to win ten seats.’
    2. 1.2historical A Congregationalist.
      • ‘The radicals wanted it all - these were the Independents and Oliver Cromwell was emerging as their leader.’
      • ‘On another side were the Independents, who wanted to do away with the Anglican Church altogether.’
      • ‘They were part of English nonconformity which included Independents and Quakers.’
      • ‘Although D' Ewes has been called a Presbyterian, his position in this treatise is more in line with the Independents.’


Early 17th century (as an adjective): partly on the pattern of French indépendant.