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

Example Sentences

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 Another possibility is a displacement tax, levied on employers when a worker’s job is automated but the person is not retrained, which could make businesses more inclined to retrain workers. Emma Goldberg, New York Times, 23 May 2023 Models that can figure out how to automate complex physician tasks would be the most impactful, according to Deo’s hierarchy of AI research. Mohana Ravindranath, STAT, 23 May 2023 Even the work of smugglers has become increasingly automated, said Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor of policy and government at George Mason University, who researches smuggling networks. Marisa Gerber, Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2023 Courtesy Victor Schwartz Sonara is one of a burgeoning number of tools geared toward easing and to a large extent automating people's job search, sending out hundreds of thousands of applications a time. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, 17 May 2023 Marlene Awaad–Bloomberg/Getty Images Governments will have to find a solution for knowledge sector workers whose jobs are automated away thanks to the advent of artificial intelligence, a leading expert in the field warned. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 10 May 2023 Wendy's is working with Google to automate its drive-thru service, the latest example of generative artificial intelligence being incorporated into everyday life. Christopher Hutton, Washington Examiner, 9 May 2023 Previous proposals, which went nowhere, included building a separate generation network operated by non-Jews or one that could be fully automated during Shabbat hours. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, 7 May 2023 Their deliveries feel as stiff and automated as the program that created them. Andre Gee, Rolling Stone, 20 Apr. 2023 See More

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 3 Jun. 2023.

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

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