Is there a one-word verb meaning "to become independent"?

Here is an example sentence:


It should mean:

Stop depending on others!

The intended meaning is not to "throw off subjugation" but to "gain autonomy" or to "become self-sufficient".

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because our Help Center specifically states that questions about “Naming, including naming programming variables/classes” are out of scope for our site. Finding your own synonym for the traditional daemonize is up to you. – tchrist May 5 '18 at 14:37
  • @tchrist I've taken out that paragraph. It was not essential to the question. – Museful May 5 '18 at 14:41
  • OK... but what sort of independence. Secede might work in some instances. Please have a read of the single word request tag info. – Andrew Leach May 5 '18 at 14:42
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    I think you've rescued it from summary closure, although evidence of your own research would be helpful. – Andrew Leach May 5 '18 at 14:52
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    Maybe emancipate? – mahmud koya May 5 '18 at 15:34

You use the phrase "gain autonomy" in your question and the verb autonomize does exist. It's fairly uncommon but it should be readily understood.

Very few dictionaries carry autonomize in either -ize or -ise forms - a OneLook search finds entries only in Merriam-Webster and Wordnik.

Merriam-Webster gives the following definition and examples:

autonomize transitive verb

variants: also British autonomise

to make (something) autonomous

"over time some systems of rules become autonomized as legal systems." Michael Kaern et al., Georg Simmell and Contemporary Sociology, 1990

"the present regime has deregulated and autonomized the financial institutions which is a hallmark towards economic revival." Pakistan Newswire, 10 Apr. 2002

Autonomize does have nearly the meaning you want, although it should be noted that rather than meaning "become independent" its meaning is closer to "grant independence", so it is broader.

Also, it wouldn't really work in your example sentence, being of the wrong register - it's a technical and formal word, one often used in academic political and economic contexts, as the following examples found with a Google Books search show:

"Since 2003, however, the tendency to autonomize from NATO and US influence has been translated into open inter-organizational rivalry in the operational, institutional and identity domains." The Influence of International Institutions on the EU: When Multilateralism hits Brussels, O. Costa, ‎K. Jørgensen (2012)

"Neo-liberal economic growth encourages autonomized regions. The autonomized region is the EU's accommodation to a combination of globalization and neo-liberalism." The European Union: A Political Sociology, Chris Rumford (2008)

"To insulate and to autonomize the judiciary under these circumstances accomplishes nothing but to insulate and autonomize corruption." Judicial Independence in Transition, Anja Seibert-Fohr (2012)

  • The register and meaning are fine. The problem is that it has the wrong subject. The verb I seek has as its subject the entity that is gaining independence. I eventually used "secede", even though I was hoping to avoid any connotations that may be associated with conflict/tension. – Museful Nov 4 '18 at 18:56


I doubt it's something you'd shout at someone behaving immaturely (like "Grow up!") but it does meet your ask for a one-word answer.

It's from the noun self-actualization which means "the achievement of one's full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world." (Source)


to be set free vocabulary.com

grant freedom to

As in:

They need to be **set free** to do their job.
The Guardian Oct 12, 2018


Now he felt an unexpected lightness of spirit, as if he had been set free in a restored world. Peter Straub LOST BOY LOST GIRL (2004)



Behave in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially by accomplishing mundane but necessary tasks.

(Oxford Dictionary)

See also:

to behave like an adult


Verbed from the noun adult (noun): "fully developed and mature" (MW), "one who has become self-sufficient"

  • For proper context it's probably worth mentioning that your verb MW reference is actually to a column entitled Words at Play and not to the dictionary itself. – tmgr Nov 2 '18 at 17:08

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