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
Officers have returned the wallet to the man, and booked Lawson into the Santa Clara County Jail on charges of auto burglary, a felony, and possession of burglary tools, a misdemeanor. Kate Talerico, The Mercury News, 25 Feb. 2024 Indeed there are only between 30 and 32 models offered with manual transmissions, according to Brian Moody, executive editor of popular auto research and buying sites Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader. Ed Garsten, Forbes, 25 Feb. 2024 Her mother came from Turin’s powerful Agnelli family, which included the Fiat auto fortune. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, 24 Feb. 2024 Expect the Left to lobby Biden and Kamala Harris to transfer other forms of debt — credit cards, autos — to the state. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 24 Feb. 2024 Cuts in the Fed’s rate typically reduce borrowing costs for homes, autos, credit cards, and a range of business loans. Christopher Rugaber, Fortune, 23 Feb. 2024 Hoping to make some money to invest in his auto repair business, Dupre got involved in a fraudulent deal with Nelson, Thompson told the jury in his closing argument. Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times, 21 Feb. 2024 The result has been much higher borrowing rates for businesses and consumers, including for mortgages and auto loans. Christopher Rugaber, Fortune, 13 Feb. 2024 Today, the gates act as a barrier between Pico’s auto shops, beauty salons and low-rise apartment buildings and Country Club Park, a neighborhood to the north that’s known for its Craftsman and Tudor Revival homes and expansive lawns. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, 9 Feb. 2024
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 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
plural autos


2 of 2
see aut-

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