If your brother says you broke his guitar and you say you weren't anywhere near it, your parents may ask your sister for an independent opinion, as she has no reason to lie. An independent person is free from the control or influence of other people.

The root word, depend, originally meant "to hang down." We use the word hang in a similar way. If the decision to build a new stadium hangs on funding, the decision won't be made till the money comes in. To be independent means that you don't depend on your parents to pay your bills. Or, for a three year old, it may mean going to the bathroom "all by yourself." It's all relative.

Definitions of independent
  1. adjective
    free from external control and constraint
    “an independent mind”
    “a series of independent judgments”
    “fiercely independent individualism”
    autarkic, autarkical
    of countries; not relying on imports
    autonomous, self-directed, self-reliant
    (of persons) free from external control and constraint in e.g. action and judgment
    existing as an independent entity
    breakaway, fissiparous, separatist
    having separated or advocating separation from another entity or policy or attitude
    (of a binary operation) independent of order; as in e.g. "a x b = b x a"
    free-living, nonparasitic, nonsymbiotic
    not parasitic on another organism
    (of pop groups) not affiliated with a major recording company
    case-by-case, individual, item-by-item
    separate and distinct from others of the same kind
    self-sufficient, self-sufficing, self-sustaining
    able to provide for your own needs without help from others
    financially independent
    without help from others
    marked by vigorous independence of thought and judgment
    not affiliated
    not contingent; not determined or influenced by someone or something else
    able to act at will; not hampered; not under compulsion or restraint
    independent; not united or joint
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    relying on or requiring a person or thing for support, supply, or what is needed
    like a baby especially in dependence
    unable to manage independently
    interdependent, mutualist, mutually beneficial
    mutually dependent
    living symbiotically with ants
    bloodsucking, leechlike, parasitic, parasitical
    of plants or persons; having the nature or habits of a parasite or leech; living off another
    relying on another for support
    used of organisms (especially of different species) living together but not necessarily in a relation beneficial to each
    dependent by virtue of youth
    hampered and not free; not able to act at will
    show more antonyms...
  2. adjective
    (of political bodies) not controlled by outside forces
    synonyms: autonomous, self-governing, sovereign
    able to act at will; not hampered; not under compulsion or restraint
  3. adjective
    not controlled by a party or interest group
    nonpartisan, nonpartizan
    free from party affiliation or bias
  4. noun
    a neutral or uncommitted person (especially in politics)
    synonyms: fencesitter, mugwump
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    type of:
    a person who pursues independent thought or action
  5. noun
    a writer or artist who sells services to different employers without a long-term contract with any of them
    synonyms: free lance, free-lance, freelance, freelancer, self-employed person
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a person who works at a specific occupation
  6. adjective
    (of a clause) capable of standing syntactically alone as a complete sentence
    “the main (or independent) clause in a complex sentence has at least a subject and a verb”
    synonyms: main
    see moresee less
    dependent, subordinate
    (of a clause) unable to stand alone syntactically as a complete sentence
Word Family

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