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.’
    • ‘The modern criminal-court system makes it very difficult for a grand jury to exercise any independent authority.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The school, which has about 370 students, has been the subject of an independent inquiry.’
    • ‘Well, we've got to retain our nuclear deterrent, and we've had an independent nuclear deterrent for a long time.’
    • ‘It recommended that the agency be subject to an independent review.’
    • ‘These agencies were entrusted with independent legislative authority on a federal level.’
    • ‘Outside controls or independent reviews could have provided such safeguards.’
    • ‘This committee should therefore be independent and have the authority to test out proposed rates by producers and monitor implementation.’
    • ‘However, such a set-up calls for an independent authority to monitor the functioning of these institutions.’
    • ‘It's going to be - the judiciary system in this country is independent.’
    • ‘An alternative is to become an independent contractor to the agency.’
    • ‘Is it time now for an outside independent commission to take a look at the intelligence, which apparently was faulty?’
    • ‘Without missing a beat, the Senator proposed an new independent authority to handle complaints.’
    • ‘The antennae had been installed following consultation with local authorities and assessment by independent safety consultants, and were safe.’
    • ‘The Lebanese people are the ones who want a country that is sovereign and independent and free from outside interference.’
    • ‘The Commission is an independent authority which aims to achieve dual goals of reconciliation and justice.’
    • ‘There is an area that remains more or less independent of the control of the government.’
    • ‘Action is required now to ensure the allocation of all Lottery money is independent and free from the control of politicians.’
    freethinking, individualistic, unconventional, maverick
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    1. 1.1 (of a country) self-governing.
      ‘India became independent in 1947’
      • ‘Australia doesn't even need to be a republic to be a proud, confident and independent country.’
      • ‘His concept can be used in meeting just demands of a people in their own independent country if the rulers fail in their duty.’
      • ‘How can you be proud of being an independent country if the government is unable to improve its citizens' welfare?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Once the Soviet Union broke apart, Kazakhstan became an independent country.’
      • ‘I don't think we are ready to govern an independent country.’
      • ‘He's promoted and encouraged the idea of distinct Taiwanese identity and said his country is already independent.’
      • ‘The six-country tour will also underpin the fact that the island is a sovereign, independent country, he said.’
      • ‘In 1948 the island, then an independent country, voted in a referendum to become the 10th province of Canada.’
      • ‘Bangladesh later separated from Pakistan and East Timor which at the time was a Portuguese colony but is now an 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.’
      • ‘Taiwan is clearly an independent country with its own sovereignty.’
      • ‘Many of the states were too small or awkwardly located to survive as independent countries.’
      • ‘In 1962, Jamaica became an independent country after 300 years of British rule.’
      • ‘He promised to continue ignoring the fact that Cuba is an independent country, not a US colony.’
      • ‘Now it is all different, of course, and we are an independent country.’
      • ‘The statue was erected in 1962 to welcome foreign visitors to the then young independent country.’
      • ‘Kazakhstan is now an independent country, but for decades it was part of the Soviet Union.’
      • ‘Please let's change and be people with brave hearts and forget all about violence against any particular sex in this independent country.’
      self-governing, self-legislating, self-determining, sovereign, autonomous, autonomic, autarkic, free, non-aligned
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    2. 1.2 Not belonging to or supported by a political party.
      ‘the independent candidate’
      • ‘Instead of listening to other political parties and to independent experts he consistently and viciously denigrated all opposition.’
      • ‘Support for independent candidates and smaller parties has also risen, but in the locals rather than the Euro elections.’
      • ‘However, ward councillors can either join a new political party or become independent councillors.’
      • ‘It demands the building of a new independent political party.’
      • ‘The few independent candidates with political potential are quickly recruited by the parties.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Lenin did not invent the concept of the party or of the independent political organization of the working class.’
      • ‘In time, this should improve the prospects of third parties and independent candidates.’
      • ‘Democracy presupposes independent political parties and an electorate willing to debate issues and vote accordingly.’
      • ‘They strive to be independent from political parties and openly battle government-controlled organizations.’
      • ‘When the matter went to Parliament, all political parties supported an independent Complaints Commission.’
      • ‘The time has come for the American working class to begin the arduous task of constructing an independent political party.’
      • ‘Those two seats went to candidates from little-known independent parties.’
      • ‘Its founding in 1906 represented the first step by British workers towards their own independent political party.’
      • ‘This campaign exposed the ballot access barriers that confront all third party and independent candidates.’
      • ‘Half of them prefer party nominees to independent candidates.’
      • ‘The remaining 8 seats were clinched by splinter parties or independent candidates.’
      • ‘The great weakness of the American workers movement historically has been its inability to establish an independent political party.’
      • ‘There are also minor party and independent candidates in many ridings, who generally deserve far more consideration than they receive.’
    3. 1.3 (of broadcasting, a school, etc.) not supported by public funds.
      • ‘The borough's independent schools joined in the celebrations.’
      • ‘There are more than 70 independent schools in Scotland - just under a quarter of which are in and around Edinburgh.’
      • ‘He insisted independent schools from all faiths had a role to play in encouraging understanding of people from different backgrounds.’
      • ‘This could also be the reason why few pupils go from public schools to independent schools.’
      • ‘Head teachers at other independent schools said above-inflation fee hikes were necessary to meet a number of rising costs.’
      • ‘Nothing surprising there; with a higher per capita budget, independent schools of course do better on that score.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There are also independent schools which are boarding or day, senior or junior, rural or urban, large or small.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Collaboration amongst educators across public, Catholic and independent schools is difficult to say the least.’
      • ‘The overall pass rate this year for all schools, including both state and independent schools, was 69.6%.’
      • ‘Academies are independent schools funded by public money.’
      • ‘The group also runs two independent schools and three private nurseries in Wakefield and Barnsley.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A new Charity Act will require independent schools to show they are meeting a public benefit test.’
      • ‘One academic says the proposal will increase the gap between State and independent schools to an alarming degree.’
      • ‘So we will help parents and other groups establish a new generation of independent schools funded by the state.’
      • ‘If you had a quota, you might actually say we will only make offers to 20% of independent school applicants.’
      • ‘What is on the screen will depend on whether the Council teams up with public space broadcasts or independent programmers.’
      private, public, non-state-controlled, non-state-run, non-public, private-sector, private-enterprise, fee-paying, commercial
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    4. 1.4historical Congregational.
  • 2Not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.

    ‘I wanted to remain independent in old age’
    • ‘I was now independent, and wasn't planning on depending on anyone for awhile.’
    • ‘It's hard to go from a very, independent woman to depending on others.’
    • ‘Not only were you beautiful but you were also smart, self-sufficient, independent and strong.’
    • ‘Plus she is very much an independent, self sufficient woman, but also with a softer side!’
    • ‘It is partly due to his weaknesses that I became independent and self-reliant.’
    • ‘Neddy was a very independent person who lived life quietly in Ballingarry.’
    • ‘Clearly, she was an independent, self-sufficient child as only children often are, but she was imaginative too, and a great reader.’
    • ‘Because I wanted her to be independent and not to have to depend on some man for her living…’
    • ‘Due to this and various things in adult life I have a real aversion to depending on people, not being independent.’
    • ‘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 remarkably independent and self reliant and this is what drives me mad!’
    • ‘Self-reliant and independent, they do not necessarily take pride in their local community.’
    • ‘Teenagers are forever pushing out their boundaries as they strive to be independent and self sufficient.’
    • ‘Like most Australian girls, I was intrigued by a man who could be so self reliant and independent in the bush.’
    • ‘It can help children take their first steps towards being more independent and self reliant.’
    • ‘You think of yourself as independent, you want to be independent, but you depend on Alex more than anyone.’
    • ‘To most people, Teddy often came off as far more independent and self-sufficient than most other boys his age.’
    • ‘They are also a form of social policy that has the objective of making people more independent and thus self-reliant.’
    • ‘They did not claim to be victims; they presented as a rugged, stoical, independent, self-reliant yeomanry.’
    • ‘His father was a stonemason and architect who brought up his children to be independent and self reliant.’
    self-sufficient, self-supporting, self-sustaining, self-reliant, self-standing, able to stand on one's own two feet
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    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’
    • ‘I suggested that attracting backpackers and independent travellers would be a good way to get that ball rolling.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The advantage of being part of a tour is gaining access to experiences that would be practically impossible for an independent traveller.’
    • ‘They have great scripts, great acting, an independent voice and are marketable.’
    • ‘A toy capable of totally independent thought would be way too freaky.’
    • ‘However, the overland crossing between Thailand and Malaysia has become a very popular independent traveller's route.’
    • ‘John is an independent adult, legally capable of making his own decisions.’
    • ‘There are two separate engines, one on each side of a locomotive and capable of independent operation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A molecule is the smallest unit of a substance capable of independent existence.’
    • ‘Stroke rehabilitation is designed to help you return to independent living.’
    • ‘They respond readily to a simple telepathic command, but as you can see, they are capable of independent action and collaboration as a group.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Get out while you're still capable of independent thought and action.’
    • ‘It provided them with training opportunities, courses and help with independent living.’
    • ‘This had meant that Chris was very independent and more than capable of fending for himself on his own.’
    • ‘We want them to be steeped in the democratic process and capable of independent thinking on all kinds of issues great and small.’
    • ‘They wanted to be independent, strong, capable of standing on their own two feet.’
    • ‘Her music career, like her acting career, is as independent as she is.’
    1. 3.1 Not influenced or affected by others; impartial.
      ‘a thorough and independent investigation of the case’
      • ‘Bacon was capable of offering independent advice and increasingly hostile towards Mary, queen of Scots.’
      • ‘Again, the service is independent, impartial and confidential.’
      • ‘No one will take seriously a body that is not seen to be independent and impartial.’
      • ‘International law requires that every criminal court be competent, independent and impartial.’
      • ‘They falsely pretend to be impartial and independent, or patronisingly portray themselves to be the same as ordinary people.’
      • ‘The ads should also be subject to independent oversight.’
      • ‘Under such circumstances, how can one ensure a fair and independent investigation?’
      • ‘News and commentary have never been more interesting and diverse than they are today under the influence of independent media.’
      • ‘An independent investigation in to the Trust's waiting figures is now taking place, at the request of the government.’
      • ‘Providing minimal information which is not capable of independent verification should alert you that something may be wrong.’
      • ‘The requirement that the tribunal should be independent and impartial is one that has long been recognised by English common law.’
      • ‘And the Federal Bureau of Investigation is also conducting an independent investigation.’
      • ‘The sacking was for unspecified professional misconduct after an independent investigation into allegations that he had an affair with a patient.’
      • ‘That is a perfect example of the philosophy of the office of the independent counsel in this investigation.’
      • ‘In consequence, the judge is able to act, and to be seen to act, as an impartial and independent adjudicator.’
      • ‘The administration is conducting an internal review, but momentum for an independent investigation is growing.’
      • ‘He said the matter deserves an impartial, independent investigation.’
      • ‘The European Convention on Human Rights demands a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal.’
      • ‘There will be no such thing as a completely independent investigation.’
      • ‘This is the only way to ensure that the people of Taiwan receive fair, objective and independent perspectives.’
      impartial, unbiased, unprejudiced, neutral, disinterested, uninvolved, uncommitted, detached, dispassionate, objective, open-minded, equitable, non-partisan, even-handed, fair, fair-minded, just
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  • 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’
    • ‘It should be mentioned that these 11 requirements are not independent from each other.’
    • ‘They argue for a multilevel approach with conceptually independent but ontologically connected domains.’
    • ‘These two domains are functionally independent and have had separate evolutionary origins.’
    • ‘Positive and negative feedback are not independent from each other.’
    • ‘Allowing each other to be independent whilst still a couple.’
    • ‘Sponge cells perform a variety of bodily functions and appear to be more independent of each other than are the cells of other animals.’
    • ‘The result is that for most of the game the board cannot be broken down into independent components.’
    • ‘Why are separate and independent events seen as interrelated parts of a sequence?’
    • ‘If the value of an element is independent of the presence of another element, both elements are said to be independent from each other.’
    • ‘Pressure and shear have an independent influence on wound healing, especially on ischemic wounds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Once in orbit, multiple independent warheads separated from the missile bodies and angled toward the surface.’
    • ‘That is a separate, independent issue from what security arrangements we have.’
    • ‘They are connected but separate events, with independent laws of causality.’
    • ‘Such an argument suggests that language acquisition and language socialization are independent from each other.’
    • ‘He pointed out that the university's hostels are run as a separate and independent business.’
    • ‘Peatlands occur in low-energy settings and are more independent of adjacent landscape units.’
    • ‘These parts were assumed to be statistically independent from each other.’
    • ‘Social, economic, and environmental spheres are not independent from each other.’
    unconnected, unrelated, unassociated, dissociated, unattached, separate
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    1. 4.1 Not depending on something else for strength or effectiveness; freestanding.
      ‘an independent electric shower’
      • ‘If treatment effects are independent the relative risk with two or more treatments is the product of the relative risk on each treatment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Fortunately the shower is electric, and we have an independent gas fire.’
      separate, discrete, different, distinct, free-standing, self-contained, complete
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    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.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However he also showed that linear sentence systems do have independent axiom systems.’
      • ‘Ideally, the inverse problem consists of N independent linear equations.’
      • ‘We used a parameterization process to reduce these parameters to 36 independent ones.’


  • 1An independent person or body.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Well, some firms have dispensed with their in-house provision and now use the services of independents.’
    • ‘In turn, competition has forced the independents to upgrade quality and comfort.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Each board will be made up of 15 members, eight tenants, five independents and two councillors.’
    • ‘A lower limit would encourage the entry of independents and promote competition.’
    • ‘In the gaping maw of publishing, the independents tend to be modest about their work.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In fact, most were published by university presses, the federal government or small independents.’
    • ‘It was the perfect opportunity to bring the independents and commissioning editors together.’
    • ‘A few doughty independents and specialist dealers aside, the bookselling business in Britain is now irretrievably homogenised.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the share of independents in the business is on the rise.’
    1. 1.1 An independent political candidate, voter, etc.
      • ‘So I think where there are worthy alternatives in the minor parties and independents, people are having a very serious think.’
      • ‘We need to prove to the moderates, independents and western libertarians that we are tough enough.’
      • ‘At that time the ruling party captured 193 seats, though many of these candidates ran as independents.’
      • ‘But so far no way has been found to make democracy and government work with independents.’
      • ‘More than once, it has crossed my mind to stand for election to the council as an independent.’
      • ‘Labour Students and the organised independents who dominate the executive retreated from their original plan.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It very quickly grew, drawing in people from other left wing parties and many independents from the social movements and trade unions.’
      • ‘So to win government, even with the support of the other five independents, the Coalition would need to win ten seats.’
      • ‘After a somewhat cursory examination, the Commission told the independents late in February that it was doing nothing.’
      • ‘As well as the big three parties, other groups looking for your vote include the Greens, Socialist Alliance and various independents.’
      • ‘The government of Nunavut will be a non-party system and members run as independents and will govern by consensus.’
      • ‘The extreme right wing British National Party has its first four representatives while there are three Greens and an independent on the new council.’
      • ‘First, I have no idea why Steve thinks all three independents are with the government.’
      • ‘After the recent election we again have four Greens and three progressive independents out of 10 councillors.’
      • ‘Many of the independents are opposition candidates whose parties have been banned.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He tried two or three times to get into Parliament as an independent.’
    2. 1.2historical A Congregationalist.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


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