au·​to·​mat·​ic | \ ˌȯ-tə-ˈma-tik How to pronounce automatic (audio) \

Definition of automatic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : largely or wholly involuntary especially : reflex sense 5 automatic blinking of the eyelids
b : acting or done spontaneously or unconsciously the automatic applause of the audience
c : done or produced as if by machine : mechanical the answers were automatic
2 : having a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism an automatic transmission
3 of a firearm : firing repeatedly until the trigger is released



Definition of automatic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a machine or apparatus that operates automatically especially : an automatic firearm
2a : an automatic transmission a car with a three-speed automatic
b : an automobile with an automatic transmission Is your car an automatic or a manual?
3 American football : audible

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Other Words from automatic


automatically \ ˌȯ-​tə-​ˈma-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce automatically (audio) \ adverb
automaticity \ ˌȯ-​tə-​mə-​ˈti-​sə-​tē How to pronounce automaticity (audio) , -​ma-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for automatic

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

  • nonmechanical
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Choose the Right Synonym for automatic


spontaneous, impulsive, instinctive, automatic, mechanical mean acting or activated without deliberation. spontaneous implies lack of prompting and connotes naturalness. a spontaneous burst of applause impulsive implies acting under stress of emotion or spirit of the moment. impulsive acts of violence instinctive stresses action involving neither judgment nor will. blinking is an instinctive reaction automatic implies action engaging neither the mind nor the emotions and connotes a predictable response. his denial was automatic mechanical stresses the lifeless, often perfunctory character of the response. a mechanical teaching method

Examples of automatic in a Sentence

Adjective Without thinking, he gave an automatic reply. She always has an automatic smile for everyone. Noun Will your next car be a manual or an automatic?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Darrin Horn: Only two first-year coaches took home automatic bids to a 2020 NCAA Tournament that never was. Dave Clark,, "CBS Sports ranks 2019 college basketball coaching hires: Brannen 4th, Horn 5th, Cronin 6th," 22 Apr. 2020 The winner crowned Friday earns an automatic bid to the show’s Tournament of Champions. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "IU senior Tyler Combs advances to finals of 'Jeopardy!' college tournament," 14 Apr. 2020 The technology, which is made by Japanese company NEC, is a standalone system not linked to any other imaging system, such as closed-circuit television, body worn video or automatic number plate recognition, the Met said. Hanna Ziady, CNN, "London will use live facial recognition cameras to police the city," 24 Jan. 2020 Transcription already exists via, Google’s own automatic speech recognition, and Microsoft’s services. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865: Four of its best new features," 5 Dec. 2019 It also was equipped with Calibre 12.1, an automatic movement with a five-year warranty produced by Kenissi, the Swiss manufacturer that Chanel has co-owned with Rolex and Tudor since 2018. Robin Swithinbank, New York Times, "Chanel’s ‘Fashion Watch’ Set the Fashion," 30 Apr. 2020 The new system also supports automatic renaming of Bluetooth devices. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Google details new AirPods-style Bluetooth upgrades for Android," 29 Apr. 2020 The Giants are rebuilding, and Puig wouldn’t put them over the top and turn them into an automatic winner. John Shea,, "Giants Splash: How would Yasiel Puig fit in SF’s outfield?," 29 Apr. 2020 Illinois pensioners enjoy automatic, annual 3% cost-of-living adjustments, even when inflation is much less. WSJ, "‘Donor’ States and Bailing Out Basket Cases," 29 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And while the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 in the S model makes a healthy 424 horsepower, that its exhaust sounds best only for the brief moments during the eight-speed automatic's upshifts seems like obvious room for improvement. Jared Gall, Car and Driver, "2020 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4 Is Not Special Enough," 21 Apr. 2020 Like some other multi-speed automatics and dual-clutch transmissions, the one in the CLA upshifts quickly and downshifts laggardly in the default Comfort mode. Jim Resnick, Ars Technica, "The baby Benz has grown up—the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA, reviewed," 27 Apr. 2020 The protesters had every right to be there and, apparently, the right to stand shoulder-to-shoulder — except for those carrying semi-automatics, who stood gun-to-gun. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Hey, Michigan Capitol protesters: Next time stay in your cars," 16 Apr. 2020 The transmissions, internally referred to as DPS6, are dual-clutch six-speed automatics which use dry clutches and are prone to rough shifting, requiring frequent repairs. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "Ford Settling with Focus, Fiesta Owners over Troublesome Dual-Clutch Transmission," 28 Jan. 2020 This makes a cartridge like the 10mm, which is available in semi-automatics with a higher capacity than a revolver, a good choice. Richard Mann, Field & Stream, "The 10 Best Handgun Hunting Cartridges and Loads," 24 Feb. 2020 This would also mean that, if semi-automatics are ever made unlawful in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam’s SWAT teams would have a handy list of homes to raid. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Gun advocates see ‘registry’ and ‘confiscation’ coming to Virginia," 15 Jan. 2020 Single-action semi-automatics or revolvers with a single-action option, offer the best triggers; strive for one with a pull weight of between 1.5 and 3 pounds. Field & Stream, "The 30 Best Handguns for Outdoorsmen," 17 Sep. 2019 Yes, semi-automatics might be the biggest shorty shotgun innovation this year. The Editors, Outdoor Life, "The Best New Shotguns from SHOT Show 2019," 30 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'automatic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of automatic


1686, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1870, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for automatic

Adjective and Noun

Greek automatos self-acting, from aut- + -matos (akin to Latin ment-, mens mind) — more at mind

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Time Traveler for automatic

Time Traveler

The first known use of automatic was in 1686

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Statistics for automatic

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Automatic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for automatic


How to pronounce automatic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of automatic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

of a machine or device : having controls that allow something to work or happen without being directly controlled by a person
of a gun : shooting many bullets very quickly when the trigger is pulled
: happening or done without deliberate thought or effort



English Language Learners Definition of automatic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a gun that shoots many bullets very quickly : an automatic weapon
: a vehicle that changes gears by itself at different speeds : a car with automatic transmission


au·​to·​mat·​ic | \ ˌȯ-tə-ˈma-tik How to pronounce automatic (audio) \

Kids Definition of automatic

1 : involuntary automatic blinking of eyelids
2 : being a machine or device that allows something to work without being directly controlled by a person an automatic washer

Other Words from automatic

automatically \ -​ti-​kə-​lē \ adverb



Legal Definition of automatic

: happening or existing through the operation of a preexisting arrangement that is triggered by some event specifically : happening or existing through the operation of law automatic reversal an automatic appeal

Other Words from automatic

automatically adverb

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Comments on automatic

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