au·​to·​mate ˈȯ-tə-ˌmāt How to pronounce automate (audio)
automated; automating

transitive verb

: to operate by automation
: to convert to largely automatic operation
automate a process

intransitive verb

: to undergo automation
automatable adjective

Examples of automate in a Sentence

The company recently automated its filing process. a factory that has yet to be automated a factory that has yet to automate When companies automate, employees lose jobs.
Recent Examples on the Web Sometimes, overseas organizers prefer a simplified concert where the singer merely performs, and everything else is automated. Billboard China, Billboard, 21 May 2024 Essentially, could a tool capable of supercharging productivity by automating scores of routine tasks put millions of people out of a job? Paolo Confino, Fortune, 14 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for automate 

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

Word History


back-formation from automation

Note: The formation of automation from automatic entry 1 (or automaton) is idiosyncratic. The -at- of automatic is blended with the suffix -ation, resulting in a word that is no longer divisible into base and suffix. The element -at- mimics, as it were, the -at- of -ate entry 4 and -ation, though in origin it has no relation to it. Another approach to this curious derivation might be to take it as a blend of automatic and operation, though there is no evidence that the coiner had this in mind. A more regular way to derive a verb from automatic would be automatize, and in fact such a word is attested (see automatize, but with a different sense), along with a corresponding noun automatization. In a discussion on automation with the editors of the Atlantic Monthly the mathematician Norbert wiener was said to take "a firm stand on nomenclature": "'Automation,' he says, is barbarous; let it be 'automatization' or nothing" ("Science and Industry," Atlantic Monthly, vol. 195, no. 6 [June, 1955], p. 14). See also the note at automation.

First Known Use

1952, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of automate was in 1952

Dictionary Entries Near automate

Cite this Entry

“Automate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


au·​to·​mate ˈȯt-ə-ˌmāt How to pronounce automate (audio)
automated; automating
: to operate by automation
: to convert to mainly automatic operation

More from Merriam-Webster on automate

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