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
And as prices climb, the public’s mortgage, auto, and credit card debt and delinquencies, which temporarily declined due to large pandemic stimulus payments, are once again climbing. Brian Riedl, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 5 July 2024 Yet unlike the vast majority of concept cars which debut to much fanfare at auto shows, the 919 Street was developed internally three years prior as a design study that never progressed beyond the point of a clay model. Basem Wasef, Robb Report, 5 July 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 See all Example Sentences for auto 

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 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
plural autos


2 of 2
see aut-

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