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 If all of this is not enough to move you, perhaps this will be: the Sentra’s double-overhead-cam 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a continuously-variable automatic transmission that develops 149 horsepower, a 20% increase from 2019. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Cheap frills make the 2020 Nissan Sentra a little luxury ride (review)," 26 Sep. 2020 Rittenhouse, 17, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and five other charges in the shooting of three people, and killing of two of them, using a semi-automatic rifle during an Aug. 25 overnight protest. Karie Angell Luc,, "Small vigil for victims held outside Lake County Courthouse during Kyle Rittenhouse extradition hearing," 25 Sep. 2020 The twin-turbo 4.0L V8, eight-speed automatic transmission and performance tuned all-wheel drive are standard. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S can hit 196 mph with stunning, immediate power," 23 Sep. 2020 Like the current model, the next-gen WRX is likely to offer a choice of a six-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission. Eric Tingwall, Car and Driver, "2022 Subaru WRX Spied on the Street as Production Draws Near," 23 Sep. 2020 The motor is again situated between the internal combustion engine and the eight-speed automatic ZF transmission, which drives all four wheels. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Porsche boosts battery capacity by 27 percent for 2021 Panamera hybrid," 22 Sep. 2020 Rittenhouse, who was armed with a semi-automatic rifle, shot and killed two men and shot and injured a third. Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, "GoFundMe for veteran celebrated at Trump rally halted over fundraiser for Kenosha shooter," 17 Sep. 2020 Rittenhouse, 17, received national attention in August after bringing a military-style semi automatic rifle to a demonstration in Kenosha. Vandana Ravikumar, Dallas News, "Dallas school assignment asking if accused Kenosha shooter is modern-age hero draws outcry," 16 Sep. 2020 Mark McCloskey, 63, came out of the couple’s Renaissance palazzo-style mansion with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, a probable cause statement said. Arkansas Online, "Citations issued for 9 people who demonstrated near St. Louis home," 11 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The transmission, a seven-speed automatic, is sort of a perfect metaphor for the car overall. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "I hate to say it, but Ferrari's new convertible is worth every penny," 19 Sep. 2020 As with most electric vehicles, the transmission is a single-speed automatic. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Electric 2021 Polestar 2 arrives as one of the year’s best, most advanced new cars," 25 Aug. 2020 With 110 horsepower on tap, the Chevy V-6 performs pretty well through either the five-speed manual or the three-speed automatic (with lockup torque converter) transmissions. Michael Jordan, Car and Driver, "1984 Jeep Cherokee Reimagines the 4x4 for a New Age," 4 Aug. 2020 This gives you the most power and the nine-speed automatic, which is preferable to the CVT. cleveland, "The 2020 Buick Encore GX is bigger, badder follow-up to the Encore SUV (review)," 11 July 2020 To offer a stick shift in the 911, Porsche converted its dual-clutch automatic to work like a manual trans. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, "The Magnificent Seven: 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S Manual," 5 Aug. 2020 The other gearbox is VW's familiar seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Jens Meiners, Car and Driver, "2022 Volkswagen GTI Thrives in the Modern Era," 9 Aug. 2020 The transmission is a quick and smooth eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. cleveland, "Mercedes’s new small SUV a winner, despite goofy driver-assist feature," 4 July 2020 The 10-speed automatic is happy to keep it in its torquey sweet spot. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "2020 Cadillac CT4 450T Suffers from a Lack of Refinement," 8 July 2020

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

30 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Automatic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 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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