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

Example Sentences

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
Based on the new Toyota Land Cruiser, which is no longer offered in North America, the LX600 is powered by a 409-hp twin-turbo V-6 with a 10-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. Austin Irwin, Car and Driver, 22 Nov. 2022 The white coupe is powered by a 3.8-liter turbocharged V6, which was based on the one featured in the legendary 1987 Buick GNX muscle car, and equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, 21 Nov. 2022 The Mercury’s standout features included a unique turning lower unit—the head unit doesn’t move—a two-speed automatic transmission and dual contra-rotating props. Howard Walker, Robb Report, 19 Nov. 2022 In addition to standard all-wheel drive, a twin-turbo V6 gasoline engine and 10-speed automatic transmission, the Transit Trail comes in two wheelbases — 235.5 inches and 263.9 inches long — and three roof heights. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 5 Nov. 2022 But unlike settlement colonies, the high security prisons have far stricter rules and are circled by guards in towers with automatic weapons, much like the Stalin-era gulags. Juliet Butler, Peoplemag, 11 Nov. 2022 The attacks prompted New Zealand to quickly pass new laws which banned the deadliest types of semi-automatic weapons. Nick Perry, ajc, 8 Nov. 2022 The prison system has been on high alert since September 2021 prison clashes involving automatic weapons and even grenades. Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, 3 Nov. 2022 This included the use of automatic weapons and assault rifles, as well as the operation of hand grenades and suicide belts. Justin Klawans, The Week, 2 Nov. 2022
Noun
Otherwise, the long pedal travel, the engine's linear response, and the eight-speed automatic's demure shifts combine to make this a polished powertrain. Joe Lorio, Car and Driver, 11 Nov. 2022 Drivers have a choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a nine-speed automatic. Morgan Korn, ABC News, 6 Nov. 2022 Prodigious torque is to be expected, and the 370-hp 6.7-liter turbodiesel inline-six doesn't disappoint, twisting out 850 pound-feet at only 1700 rpm, routed through a six-speed automatic. Derek Powell, Car and Driver, 24 Oct. 2022 Working with a nine-speed automatic, the Titan can tow up to 9320 pounds. Nick Kurczewski, Car and Driver, 23 Sep. 2022 Details are limited, but a twin-turbo inline-six with around 450 horses drives the rear wheels via either an eight-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, 29 Sep. 2022 The Frontier offers the most power in the segment thanks to its 310-hp V-6, which pairs with a nine-speed automatic. Austin Irwin, Car and Driver, 28 July 2022 However, the RS 6 also aimed for everyday drivability by ditching its manual transmission, opting instead for a smooth-shifting automatic. Basem Wasef, Robb Report, 29 July 2022 Though an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic is standard, a seven-speed manual is a no-cost option. David Beard, Car and Driver, 13 July 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Noun

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

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 9 Dec. 2022.

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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