Definition of automatism
1a : the quality or state of being automaticb : an automatic action
2 : the moving or functioning (as of an organ, tissue, or a body part) without conscious control that occurs either independently of external stimuli (as in the beating of the heart) or under the influence of external stimuli (as in pupil dilation)
3 : a theory that views the body as a machine and consciousness as a noncontrolling adjunct of the body
4 : suspension of the conscious mind to release subconscious images automatism —the surrealist trend toward spontaneity and intuition — Elle
automatistplay \-ˈtä-mə-tist\ noun or adjective
Recent Examples of automatism from the Web
While painters like André Masson and Joan Miró practiced visual automatism, others, René Magritte, Max Ernst and Salvador Dalí among them, used meticulous technique to create optical puns and illusions.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'automatism'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of automatism
French automatisme, from automate automaton, from Latin automaton
First Known Use: 1776See Words from the same year
Medical Definition of automatism
1: an automatic action; especially : any action performed without the doer's intention or awareness
2: the power or fact of moving or functioning without conscious control either independently of external stimulation (as in the beating of the heart) or more or less directly under the influence of external stimuli (as in the dilating or contracting of the pupil of the eye)
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