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adjective au·to·mat·ic \ˌȯ-tə-ˈma-tik\

Simple Definition of automatic

  • of a machine or device : having controls that allow something to work or happen without being directly controlled by a person

  • of a gun : shooting many bullets very quickly when the trigger is pulled

  • : happening or done without deliberate thought or effort

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of automatic

  1. 1 a :  largely or wholly involuntary; especially :  reflex 5 <automatic blinking of the eyelids> b :  acting or done spontaneously or unconsciously c :  done or produced as if by machine :  mechanical <the answers were automatic>

  2. 2 :  having a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism <an automatic transmission>

  3. 3 of a firearm :  firing repeatedly until the trigger is released

automaticallyplay \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
automaticityplay \-mə-ˈti-sə-tē, -ma-\ noun

Examples of automatic in a sentence

  1. Without thinking, he gave an automatic reply.

  2. She always has an automatic smile for everyone.

Origin of automatic

Greek automatos self-acting, from aut- + -matos (akin to Latin ment-, mens mind) — more at mind

First Known Use: 1748

Synonym Discussion of automatic

spontaneous, impulsive, instinctive, automatic, mechanical mean acting or activated without deliberation. spontaneous implies lack of prompting and connotes naturalness <a spontaneous burst of applause>. impulsive implies acting under stress of emotion or spirit of the moment <impulsive acts of violence>. instinctive stresses action involving neither judgment nor will <blinking is an instinctive reaction>. automatic implies action engaging neither the mind nor the emotions and connotes a predictable response <his denial was automatic>. mechanical stresses the lifeless, often perfunctory character of the response <a mechanical teaching method>.

Other Weapons and Explosives Terms



noun au·to·mat·ic

Simple Definition of automatic

  • : a gun that shoots many bullets very quickly : an automatic weapon

  • : a vehicle that changes gears by itself at different speeds : a car with automatic transmission

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of automatic

  1. 1 :  a machine or apparatus that operates automatically: as a :  an automatic firearm b :  an automatic transmission

  2. 2 :  a semiautomatic firearm

  3. 3 :  audible

Examples of automatic in a sentence

  1. Will your next car be a manual or an automatic?


First Known Use of automatic


AUTOMATIC Defined for Kids


adjective au·to·mat·ic \ˌȯ-tə-ˈma-tik\

Definition of automatic for Students

  1. 1 :  involuntary <automatic blinking of eyelids>

  2. 2 :  being a machine or device that allows something to work without being directly controlled by a person <an automatic washer>

automatically \-ti-kə-lē\ adverb

Law Dictionary


adjective au·to·mat·ic

Legal Definition of automatic

  1. :  happening or existing through the operation of a preexisting arrangement that is triggered by some event; specifically :  happening or existing through the operation of law <automatic reversal> <an automatic appeal>

automatically adverb

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up automatic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to manage or play awkwardly

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