What is the difference between the two words "Autonomic" and "Autonomous"?

Are they interchangeable in any situation?


Autonomic means involuntary and I have only ever heard it used in reference to bodily biological processes.

Autonomous means independent and I have only ever heard it used in reference to whole organisms and to machinery.

I cannot, off the top of my head, think of any situation in which they are interchangeable.

  • Thanks for your answer, however in the sentence "Towards autonomic workload provisioning of ... " that is the title of a published paper we see a different usages that made me ask this question, what do you think about that? – mok May 2 '14 at 6:08
  • Huh, learn something new every day. I'm very curious as to why the practice was named "autonomic" instead of "automatic" and if there was a good reason for it, but it does seem to be industry wide, but I'm not readily finding the original source article. – Codeswitcher May 2 '14 at 6:33
  • This may be something for which the answer is very domain specific. Since I don't know anything about autonomic server provisioning, I don't know whether "autonomous" (or "automatic") are legitimate synonyms for it. – Codeswitcher May 2 '14 at 6:34
  • It might be worth noting that, of all the 44 results returned by Google when I searched for "Towards autonomic workload provisioning" (yes, there are only 44 occurrences in the world that Google found), all of them point to the same paper: "Towards autonomic workload provisioning for enterprise Grids and clouds". – Damkerng T. May 2 '14 at 7:47
  • @DamkerngT. when I popped "autonomic provisioning" into Google, I got 132,000 hits. I don't know that the "Towards" and the "workload" do anything to find us the origin of the use of "autonomic" this way; they find us that one paper. Edited to add: 4,130 hits when "autonomic provisioning" is in quotes. – Codeswitcher May 3 '14 at 6:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.