automatic

1 of 2

adjective

au·​to·​mat·​ic ˌȯ-tə-ˈma-tik How to pronounce automatic (audio)
1
a
: 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
automatically adverb
automaticity noun

automatic

2 of 2

noun

1
: a machine or apparatus that operates automatically
especially : an automatic firearm
2
a
: 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
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?
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
California provides an automatic extension to file every year, but payment is still due April 15. Cortlynn Stark, Sacramento Bee, 13 Feb. 2024 These borrowers could then receive automatic relief, without the need for a formal application. Adam S. Minsky, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 There are a nice handful of techy touches, too, like a multi-room audio system and automatic shades. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 13 Feb. 2024 Washington claimed the automatic bid after winning the conference tournament and was awarded a No. 11 seed. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 12 Feb. 2024 But defensive holding was called on the Eagles' James Bradberry, giving the Chiefs an extra five yards and, crucially, an automatic first down. Jordan Freiman, CBS News, 10 Feb. 2024 He was handed the death penalty, but his sentence was later dropped to life in prison after a 1976 U.S. Supreme Court ruling against automatic death sentences. Kevin Fixler, Idaho Statesman, 10 Feb. 2024 Now 8-1 in the AAC, Charlotte (14-7 overall) is tied for first in the conference and suddenly looks very capable of winning the AAC tournament in Texas next month and the automatic NCAA tournament berth that goes with it. Scott Fowler, Charlotte Observer, 3 Feb. 2024 For Android Users Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Offers excellent sleep insights, active skin temp measurements, and automatic workout detection. Cierra Cowan, PCMAG, 31 Jan. 2024
Noun
However, the delay doesn’t change the outcome: The CFP will shift the access format from six automatic qualifiers and six at-large bids to five automatics and seven at-larges. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 13 Jan. 2024 There were, at most, two automatics on the pad at any time for as many as twenty people, so real practice behind the wheel was quite limited, as few of us knew how to operate the pad’s two manual trucks. Emily Gogolak, Harper's Magazine, 9 Jan. 2024 Still, the manual shifter—a relatively rare item on the SUV market these days—keeps it ahead of Jeeps and Fords equipped with pushrod sixes and automatics: The Jeep runs to 60 mph in 10.3 seconds, the Explorer in 10.7. Phil Berg, Car and Driver, 5 Sep. 2023 View Photos The Odyssey and the Sienna are also new for the 2011 model year, but both offer carry-over engines lashed to new six-speed automatics (available only in Touring trim on the Honda). Mike Austin, Car and Driver, 15 Apr. 2023 Jean Ratelle, Ray Bourque, and Patrice Bergeron are my three automatics for the Bruins’ all-Quebecois version of Mont Rushmore. Kevin Paul Dupont, BostonGlobe.com, 29 July 2023 But the 2023 Nissan Z automatic's base price—$42,085—is worth dwelling on for a moment, because that's $12,610 less than the minimum buy-in for the Z's most obvious competitor, the Toyota GR Supra 3.0. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 3 June 2023 Two young folk singers strumming guitars become soldiers in combat garb, yielding semi automatics. John Hopewell, Variety, 21 Mar. 2023 Stick shifts used to have a fuel efficiency advantage over automatics. Joel Mathis, The Week, 6 Mar. 2023 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

borrowed from New Latin automaticus, from Latin automatum "contrivance with a hidden mechanism that appears to operate on its own" (borrowed from Greek autómaton) + -icus -ic entry 1 — more at automaton

Noun

derivative of automatic entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

1686, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1870, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of automatic was in 1686

Dictionary Entries Near automatic

Cite this Entry

“Automatic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/automatic. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

automatic

1 of 2 adjective
au·​to·​mat·​ic ˌȯt-ə-ˈmat-ik How to pronounce automatic (audio)
1
a
: largely or wholly involuntary
especially : reflex sense 2
b
: acting or done without conscious thought or intention
an automatic smile
2
: having devices or mechanisms that permit operation without help from a person
automatic washer
3
: firing repeatedly until the trigger is released
an automatic rifle
automatically adverb

automatic

2 of 2 noun
: an automatic machine or device
especially : an automatic firearm

Legal Definition

automatic

adjective
au·​to·​mat·​ic
: 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
automatically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on automatic

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