automatic

adjective
au·​to·​mat·​ic | \ ˌȯ-tə-ˈma-tik \

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

automatic

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from automatic

Adjective

automatically \ -​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb
automaticity \ -​mə-​ˈti-​sə-​tē , -​ma-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for automatic

Synonyms: Adjective

instinctive, instinctual, involuntary, knee-jerk, mechanic, mechanical, robotic, spontaneous

Antonyms: Adjective

nonmechanical

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for automatic

Adjective

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?
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Under federal law, fully automatic weapons are technically legal only if made before 1986, when Congress passed the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act. German Lopez, Vox, "The Trump administration just banned bump stocks for guns," 18 Dec. 2018 The suspected shooter, who allegedly had a semi-automatic weapon, was an employee of WTS Paradigm, according to local media. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "3 injured in Wisconsin office building shooting; suspect killed, official says," 19 Sep. 2018 The pending ban on bump stocks, an accessory for semi-automatic weapons that was used in the Las Vegas mass shooting in October 2017, prompted far less pushback from manufacturers and their lobbyists. Fortune, "Why Gunmakers Would Rather Sell AR-15s Than Handguns," 20 June 2018 Introduced in 1963, the Dragunov is a semi-automatic rifle designed to provide accurate aimed fire. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Meet the Chukavin, Russia’s New Sniper Rifle," 6 Dec. 2018 Men with knives just plain can’t do the damage that men with semi-automatic weapons do. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "How We Can Stop Mass Shootings in America," 20 Nov. 2018 Imagine how catastrophic the Melbourne terrorist attack could have been if the attacker had a semi-automatic gun. Rachel Withers, Vox, "Why? Gun control.," 11 Nov. 2018 Police said three people died in clashes in the capital, where soldiers toting automatic rifles chased opposition supporters outside the headquarters of the electoral commission. Gabriele Steinhauser, WSJ, "Zimbabwe Calls in Military as Protests Erupt Over Vote Counting," 1 Aug. 2018 For the 98 percent of new cars sold in America with automatic transmissions, both technologies have allowed for better fuel efficiency and performance than in years past. Blake Z. Rong, Popular Mechanics, "10 Innovations That Made the Modern Car," 4 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The gunman still may have carried out the shooting without bump stocks, but the devices made the shooting much deadlier by turning his semiautomatic weapons into guns that closely simulated automatics. German Lopez, Vox, "The Trump administration just banned bump stocks for guns," 18 Dec. 2018 The gunman still may have carried out the shooting without bump stocks, but the devices made the shooting much deadlier by turning his semiautomatic weapons into guns that closely simulated automatics. German Lopez, Vox, "The Trump administration just banned bump stocks for guns," 18 Dec. 2018 The gunman still may have carried out the shooting without bump stocks, but the devices made the shooting much deadlier by turning his semiautomatic weapons into guns that closely simulated automatics. German Lopez, Vox, "Trump administration to ban bump stocks for guns," 29 Nov. 2018 In 2006, 47 percent of new models in the U.S. were offered with automatics and manuals. Robert Duffer, chicagotribune.com, "The shift is on: Manual transmissions may be endangered but they're also beloved," 11 July 2018 Modern automatics are quicker, more efficient, much easier to operate, and better than most drivers. Robert Duffer, chicagotribune.com, "The shift is on: Manual transmissions may be endangered but they're also beloved," 11 July 2018 Even so, my recent purchases have been high-performance cars with automatics. Bob Weber, chicagotribune.com, "Car wash may have jarred traction control sensor wire loose," 1 Apr. 2018 And the weapon arsenal is pretty much identical to other battle royale shooters: submachine guns, pistols, shotguns, semi-automatics, and sniper rifles. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "CliffyB’s Radical Heights is a new low for cashing in on the PUBG craze," 10 Apr. 2018 The gunman still may have carried out the shooting without bump stocks, but the devices at least made the shooting much deadlier — by turning his semiautomatic weapons into guns that closely simulated automatics. German Lopez, Vox, "Trump administration moves to ban bump stocks," 23 Mar. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of automatic

Adjective

1686, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about automatic

Statistics for automatic

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for automatic

The first known use of automatic was in 1686

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for automatic

automatic

adjective

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

automatic

noun

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

automatic

adjective
au·​to·​mat·​ic | \ ˌȯ-tə-ˈma-tik \

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

automatic

adjective
au·​to·​mat·​ic

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on automatic

What made you want to look up automatic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!