AskDefine | Define independence

Dictionary Definition



1 freedom from control or influence of another or others [syn: independency]
2 the successful ending of the American Revolution; "they maintained close relations with England even after independence"
3 a city in western Missouri; the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The state or quality of being independent; freedom from dependence; exemption from reliance on, or control by, others; self-subsistence or maintenance; direction of one's own affairs without interference.
  2. The state of having sufficient means for a comfortable livelihood.


state or quality of being independent
  • Dutch: onafhankelijkheid, zelfstandigheid
  • Finnish: itsenäisyys
  • Greek: ανεξαρτησία
  • Hungarian: függetlenség
  • Polish: niepodległość
  • Russian: независимость
state of having sufficient means for a comfortable livelihood
  • Dutch: zelfstandigheid, onafhankelijkheid
  • Finnish: riippumattomuus
  • Hungarian: önállóság
  • Polish: niezależność
  • Russian: независимость, самостоятельность

Extensive Definition

Independence is the self-government of a nation, country, or state by its residents and population, or some portion thereof, generally exercising sovereignty.
The term independence is used in contrast to subjugation, which refers to a region as a "territory" —subject to the political and military control of an external government. The word is sometimes used in a weaker sense to contrast with hegemony, the indirect control of one nation by another, more powerful nation.
Independence can be the initial status of an emerging nation (often filling a political void), but is often an emancipation from some dominating power. It can be argued that independence is a negative definition: the state of not being controlled by another power through colonialism, expansionism or imperialism. Independence may be obtained by decolonization, or by separation or dismemberment.
Although the last three can often coincide with it, they are not to be confused with revolution, which typically refers to the violent overthrow of a ruling authority. This sometimes only aims to redistribute power—with or without an element of emancipation, such as in democratization—within a state, which as such may remain unaltered. The Russian October Revolution, for example, was not intended to seek national independence; the United States Revolutionary War, however, was.
Autonomy (in slight contrast) refers to a kind of independence which has been granted by an overseeing authority that itself still retains ultimate authority over that territory (see Devolution). A protectorate refers to an autonomous region that depends upon a larger government for its protection as an autonomous region. The dates of established independence (or, to a lesser degree, the commencement of revolution), are typically celebrated as a national holiday known as an independence day.
Sometimes, a state wishing to achieve independence from a dominating power will issue a declaration of independence, the earliest surviving example being Scotland's Declaration of Arbroath, and a famous example being the U.S. Declaration of Independence issued in 1776.
Causes for a country or province wishing to seek independence are many. Disillusionment rising from the establishment is a cause widely used in separatist movements, but it is usually severe economic difficulties that trigger these groups into action. The means can extend from peaceful demonstrations, like in the case of the Indian independence movement, to a violent civil war.

Article note

The dates of independence, as they have been ported into many articles from the CIA World Factbook are defined as follows:
''For most countries, [the given date is that] when sovereignty was achieved...For the other countries, the date given may not represent "independence" in the strict sense, but rather some significant nationhood event such as the traditional founding date or the date of unification, federation, confederation, establishment, or fundamental change in the form of government, such as state succession.''
independence in Afrikaans: Onafhanklikheid
independence in Arabic: استقلال
independence in Aragonese: Independenzia
independence in Asturian: Independencia
independence in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Незалежнасьць
independence in Catalan: Independència
independence in Czech: Nezávislost
independence in Crimean Tatar: Mustaqillik
independence in Welsh: Annibyniaeth
independence in Danish: Uafhængighed (politik)
independence in German: Unabhängigkeit (Politik)
independence in Estonian: Iseseisvus
independence in Modern Greek (1453-): Ανεξαρτησία
independence in Spanish: Independencia
independence in Esperanto: Sendependeco
independence in Basque: Independentzia
independence in French: Indépendance
independence in Galician: Independencia
independence in Hindi: स्वतन्त्रता
independence in Bishnupriya: ইন্ডেপেন্ডেন্সিয়া
independence in Indonesian: Kemerdekaan
independence in Icelandic: Sjálfstæði
independence in Italian: Indipendenza
independence in Hebrew: עצמאות
independence in Kazakh: Тәуелсіздік
independence in Kurdish: Serxwebûn
independence in Latvian: Neatkarība
independence in Lithuanian: Nepriklausomybė
independence in Lingala: Dipandá
independence in Hungarian: Függetlenség
independence in Macedonian: Независност
independence in Malay (macrolanguage): Kemerdekaan
independence in Dutch: Onafhankelijkheid (staatkunde)
independence in Japanese: 独立
independence in Norwegian: Uavhengighet
independence in Norwegian Nynorsk: Sjølvstende
independence in Polish: Niepodległość
independence in Portuguese: Independência
independence in Quechua: Kachariy
independence in Russian: Независимость
independence in Albanian: Pavarësia
independence in Sicilian: Nnipinnenza
independence in Simple English: Independence
independence in Slovenian: Neodvisnost
independence in Serbian: Независност
independence in Serbo-Croatian: Nezavisnost
independence in Finnish: Itsenäisyys
independence in Swedish: Självständighet
independence in Thai: เอกราช
independence in Vietnamese: Độc lập
independence in Tajik: Вилояти Индепенденсиа
independence in Turkish: Bağımsızlık
independence in Ukrainian: Незалежність
independence in Walloon: Dislaxhaedje (politike)
independence in Contenese: 獨立
independence in Samogitian: Liousoms
independence in Chinese: 独立

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Communist threat, Declaration of Independence, Western imperialism, abstention, affluence, anythingarianism, aplomb, arrogance, assets, atrocity story, autarchy, autarky, autonomousness, autonomy, banner, battle hymn, bloody shirt, boastfulness, bottomless purse, bulging purse, colors, composure, conceit, confidence, constraint, control, cop-out, crostarie, disassociation, discipline, disconnection, discreteness, disjunction, disjuncture, dissociation, easy circumstances, embarras de richesses, evasion, expansionism, face, fence-sitting, fiery cross, fortune, free will, freedom, gold, gonfalon, gratuitousness, handsome fortune, haughtiness, high income, high tax bracket, home rule, immateriality, impartiality, imperialist threat, impertinence, inapplicability, inappositeness, inconnection, inconsequence, individualism, inner-direction, internationalism, internationality, irrelation, irrelevance, liberty, lucre, luxuriousness, mammon, manifest destiny, martial music, material wealth, money, money to burn, moneybags, mugwumpery, mugwumpism, national anthem, nationalism, nationality, nationhood, neutralism, neutrality, nonalignment, noncommitment, noninvolvement, nonpartisanism, nothingarianism, opulence, opulency, pardonable pride, pelf, peoplehood, possession, possessions, pride, pridefulness, property, prosperity, prosperousness, proudness, purse-pride, restraint, riches, richness, rugged individualism, self-action, self-activity, self-assurance, self-command, self-confidence, self-conquest, self-consequence, self-containment, self-control, self-denial, self-determination, self-direction, self-discipline, self-esteem, self-government, self-help, self-helpfulness, self-improvement, self-mastery, self-possession, self-reliance, self-respect, self-restraint, self-sufficiency, self-sustainment, separateness, six-figure income, sovereign nationhood, sovereignty, spontaneity, spontaneousness, statehood, stiff-necked pride, stiff-neckedness, strict neutrality, substance, treasure, unconnectedness, unforcedness, unrelatedness, upper bracket, vanity, voluntariness, voluntarism, voluntaryism, volunteer, volunteering, war song, wealth, wealthiness, yellow peril
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