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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from automatic


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for automatic

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

  • nonmechanical
Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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?
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The receiver is then combined with a few other parts to create a fully functioning semi-automatic rifle or handgun., "Justice Department rule would aim to crack down on ‘ghost guns’," 7 May 2021 Toward the end of the video, Budd is handed a semi-automatic long rifle. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "Ted Budd enters North Carolina Senate race, adding a new GOP primary rival against Lara Trump if she runs," 28 Apr. 2021 Investigators say that two men, one with a handgun and another with a semi-automatic rifle, stormed the home in the hopes of robbing a stash of cocaine and cash. Elizabeth Depompei, The Indianapolis Star, "FedEx mass shooting the deadliest in Indianapolis in at least 15 years," 17 Apr. 2021 Police searched the car and found a loaded HiPoint semi-automatic carbine rifle. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, "Cuyahoga County fires jail officer found in car with suspected Heartless Felons gang member," 16 Apr. 2021 Adam Lanza used his mother’s weapons, including a .223-caliber semi-automatic rifle, in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Michael R. Sisak, Chron, "Mass shooters exploited gun laws, loopholes before carnage," 25 Mar. 2021 According to the affidavit, the suspect, identified as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, arrived at the location wearing a tactical vest, while armed with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle and a handgun. Ashlee Banks, Essence, "President Biden Says Gun Reform is Necessary, Retired Chief Deputy Says Not So Fast," 24 Mar. 2021 The viewer feels an automatic sense of superiority because the cast appears so unintelligent. Ian Goldstein, Vulture, "It’s Never Too Late to Step Inside the Onion’s Sex House," 16 Mar. 2021 On Thursday, a man pointed a semi-automatic rifle at gas station employees and then fired a shot at responding officers. Omar Abdel-baqui, Detroit Free Press, "Police chief: 'Unprecedented' violence against Detroit cops," 8 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Base models got a four-speed manual transmission, while DX trims got the five-cog unit; the two-speed automatic returned as an option. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "A Visual History of the Honda Civic," 29 Apr. 2021 Sending power through an 8-speed automatic, the 2022 Tucson delivers 29 mpg for front-wheel-drive models or 26 mpg for all-wheel drive versions. Karl Brauer, Forbes, "Road Test Review: All New 2022 Hyundai Tucson," 20 Apr. 2021 Fitted with the optional 250-hp 2.0-liter four and eight-speed automatic, the pre-production Sport had plenty of power. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, "2021 Ford Bronco Sets Out to Invade Jeep's Turf," 18 Aug. 2020 The 10-speed automatic also does a surprisingly effective job of leveraging the engine’s power and torque at the track, even when left in Drive (as long as the Track driving mode is engaged, which includes a specific shift program for the auto). Karl Brauer, Forbes, "2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1: Highly-Accessible Track-Friendly Fun," 6 Apr. 2021 The transmission is a bit indecisive amid middle gears, but a quicker-shifting dual-clutch automatic is available with all-wheel-drive ($2,500). Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Impressive Cadillac XT4 carving a niche for itself (review)," 20 Mar. 2021 Fuel economy ratings with the base engine and the eight-speed automatic are impressive at 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg highway. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "Most Reliable New Cars: 2020 Models," 26 Oct. 2020 Most are powered by a 147-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder and this year Hyundai ditched its conventional automatic for a CVT. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "Most Reliable New Cars: 2020 Models," 26 Oct. 2020 Smart and resourceful, Jean carries a small automatic concealed in a thigh holster. Washington Post, "Old mysteries and adventure stories deliver a dose Grand Guignol theatricality and nonstop comic-book action," 24 Feb. 2021

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


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about automatic

Time Traveler for automatic

Time Traveler

The first known use of automatic was in 1686

See more words from the same year

Statistics for automatic

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Automatic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for automatic



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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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