1 of 3


au·​to ˈȯ-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce auto (audio)
plural autos


2 of 3



3 of 3

combining form

variants or before a vowel aut-
: self : same one
: automatic : self-acting

Examples of auto in a Sentence

Noun the auto gave people a level of mobility that they had never known before
Recent Examples on the Web
Shoppers will get a first look at some of America’s favorite cars, trucks and SUVs when the Detroit auto show kicks off Sept. 15 with its annual Charity Preview and opens its doors to the public Sept. 16-24. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 9 Sep. 2023 How to Buy and Maintain a Car How to Buy or Lease a New Car How to Buy a Used Car How to Repair, Maintain, and Care for Your Car Warranty and Maintenance Coverage Lotus doesn't provide spectacular coverage compared with other auto manufacturers. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, 8 Sep. 2023 China’s vehicle sales rose in August as Beijing’s measures to boost auto consumption took effect and transportation demand rose during the summer holiday. Bingyan Wang, WSJ, 8 Sep. 2023 The change will not affect any existing employees and there will be exceptions, such as those who work in the deli, bakery, auto care departments or other areas that require specific skills. Leada Gore |, al, 8 Sep. 2023 Chinese autos are roughly 30% cheaper than their European and US equivalents, according to research firm Jato Dynamics. Laura He, CNN, 7 Sep. 2023 Before China’s auto export boom, only four a year were being ordered, said Daniel Nash, head of vehicle carriers at VesselsValue, a London shipping data firm. Keith Bradsher, New York Times, 7 Sep. 2023 Williamson faces multiple charges, including auto theft, intimidation, armed robbery, battery resulting in bodily injury, and murder. The Indianapolis Star, 28 Aug. 2023 The Good Housekeeping Institute reviews cars from SUVs to cars for parents as well as an array of auto products like windshield wiper blades and winter tires. Jamie Spain, Good Housekeeping, 28 Aug. 2023
The election is a result of the agreement reached between the federal government and the union following the fallout from the long-running corruption scandal that sent former union officials and ex-auto executives to prison for misusing worker training funds, among other misdeeds. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, 28 Feb. 2023 So which makes the best semi-auto shotgun? Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, 25 Jan. 2021 One of the few semi-auto 17 WSM rifles is the Franklin armory F17-L. Richard Mann, Outdoor Life, 27 Feb. 2023 Also: a slick semi-auto espresso machine for $4,700 and a large neon sign depicting the blue Twitter bird logo — yours for about $23,000. Adela Suliman,, 18 Jan. 2023 Also: a slick semi-auto espresso machine for $4,700, and a large neon electrical sign depicting the ubiquitous blue Twitter bird logo — yours for about $23,000. Adela Suliman, Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2023 The Mark IV solved the biggest issue many shooters had with Ruger’s classic Mark II semi-auto, with its one-button takedown system. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, 18 Sep. 2020 He also is suspected of firing a gun in New Britain — again, no one was hurt — and three times fleeing police who were on a special anti-auto theft detail in Newington. Christine Dempsey,, 11 Jan. 2022 The man also described the gun that was pointed at him as a dull silver semi-auto, possibly a Sig-Sauer brand gun, documents say. oregonlive, 28 Oct. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'auto.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



by shortening


by shortening

Combining form

borrowed from Greek, combining form of autós "self, the same" (also as third person pronoun), of uncertain origin

Note: For autós R. Beekes posits as the Indo-European forerunner *h2eu̯- "again" + *to- "that" (see that entry 1); *h2eu̯- alone is the source of Greek "again, another time, in turn, next" (Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009). G.E. Dunkel, who accepts Indo-European *a as a vowel and does not believe that all words must begin with a consonant, subsumes the first element of autós under *au̯- "away, off" (*au̯-tó- would hence originally have been a deictic, "the one over there") and subsumes Greek under *h2u-, by-form of *h2o- "with it, at it, and, also" (Lexikon der indogermanischen Partikeln und Pronominalstämme, Heidelberg, 2014). Older etymological proposals (as a link between au- in autós and Sanskrit ásuḥ "life") are summarized by E. Schwyzer in Griechische Grammatik (Munich, 1990 [1938]), pp. 613-14.

First Known Use


1899, in the meaning defined above


1876, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of auto was in 1876

Dictionary Entries Near auto

Cite this Entry

“Auto.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
plural autos


2 of 2
see aut-

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