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
Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain each have automatic bids in the Grand Final. James Powel, USA TODAY, 8 May 2024 Hot tears of sorrow and anger spilled down my cheeks at my automatic reaction to holding an infant. Rebecca Gummere, TIME, 8 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for automatic 

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 21 May. 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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