I remember reading this word a few months ago and didn't write it down to research it.

I believe it started "auto..."

The idea was that this person did what they wanted to do, purely for the love of doing that thing, without care or regard for whether it brought them recognition.

The idea is a positive one, rather than somebody doing something and not caring about the consequences. The thing they did seemed to have benefits for society, but that was not the primary reason for the person doing it.

Anyway, I hope I have explained it well enough.

Fingers crossed.


Possibly the OP is trying to remember autodidact. From Wikipedia

Autodidacticism (also autodidactism) or self-education (also self-learning and self-teaching) is the education without the guidance of masters (such as teachers and professors) or institutions. Generally, an autodidact is an individual who chooses the subject they will study, their studying material and the studying rhythm and time. An autodidact may or may not have formal education, and their study may be either a complement or an alternative to it. Many notable contributions have been made by autodidacts. Influential autodidacts include Leonardo da Vinci, Goethe, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino and Srinivasa Ramanujan. (Emphasis added).

  • 1
    Thanks for the suggestion but it is not Autodidacticism. This is more about doing the thing than learning it. Like deciding to create a dictionary because the pleasure of creating it is enough to keep the person working for many years, even though the dictionary would be very useful for other people.
    – Phillip
    Feb 26 '17 at 16:48

The "auto" doesn't ring any bells, but aficionado is kind of similar to your description: A person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity, subject, or pastime. It's from the Spanish for amateur, which is a person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons.

  • Thanks for the answer, but alas aficionado is not the word I am looking for. In this particular case, I do not believe that the person doing the thing has any in-depth knowledge, although they may have, I just don't believe the word implies it.
    – Phillip
    Feb 26 '17 at 14:12

'Hedonist' does not start with auto-, but seems close to the motivation sought. An example found at Dictionary.com is:

But to be a hedonist implies a certain process of reasoning, a deliberate choice of known pleasures, a rejection of known pains.

—Aldous Huxley, Mortal Coils 

However, digging a little more, perhaps 'autoism' or 'autoist' is the word you originally came across?

I found at this reference to the use of the word autoism in a book by Aya Katz, Our Lady of Kaifeng:

In Our Lady of Kaifeng, Father Horvath has this idea of autoism rather than altruism. Now, of course, the term autism had not yet been coined or was in the process of being coined, and he wasn't aware of it, so he called it autoism, because he simply etymologically deduced that the opposite of an altruist would be an autoist. And he tells Marah that she's a saint because she's an autoist -- because she listens to her inner voice rather than to the voice of society. And that's where sainthood comes into play.

'Aut-' is a combining form, the meaning of which is 'self', as defined by Merriam-Webster Online as follows:

aut- 1:  self :  same one {autism}{autobiography} 2:  automatic :  self-acting {autopilot}

  • Help me understand the downvote? Feb 26 '17 at 22:50
  • I'm not the downvoter, But I'm pretty sure that the downvote is owing to the incomplete nature of your response as an answer. In order to make complete sense of your response, the person who posted the original question (and any subsequent readers similarly situated) would either have to know already what hedonist, autoism, and autoist mean, or would have to look them up on another site in order to gauge whether the suggested options are good, bad, or indifferent in the specified context. You could improve your answer by adding dictionary definitions for the three words you suggest.
    – Sven Yargs
    Feb 27 '17 at 6:15
  • Perhaps that is better. Feb 27 '17 at 7:14
  • +1 from me for making a serious effort to clarify your answer.
    – Sven Yargs
    Feb 27 '17 at 7:23
  • Autoist certainly could be the word and the context of your example is almost perfectly suited to the situation I was referring to. Thank you, I will use this word, although I will worry that it could be misinterpreted to mean the Dictionary.com definition of one who drives an automobile
    – Phillip
    Feb 27 '17 at 9:56

You might be looking for the word autonomous:

  1. Not controlled by others or by outside forces; independent: an autonomous judiciary; an autonomous division of a corporate conglomerate.
  2. Independent in mind or judgment; self-directed.
  • Thanks for the answer, but it's not Autonomous.
    – Phillip
    Feb 28 '17 at 11:16

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