automaton

noun au·tom·a·ton \ ȯ-ˈtä-mə-tən , -mə-ˌtän \
Updated on: 12 Dec 2017

Definition of automaton

plural automatons or automata play \-mə-tə, -mə-ˌtä\
1 : a mechanism that is relatively self-operating; especially : robot
2 : a machine or control mechanism designed to follow automatically a predetermined sequence of operations or respond to encoded instructions
3 : an individual who acts in a mechanical fashion
  • He is an unfeeling automaton.

Recent Examples of automaton from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'automaton.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

The idea of the automaton has fascinated people for many centuries. A traveler to the emperor's court in Byzantium in A.D. 949 reported that mechanical birds sat in a golden tree singing the songs of their species; that mechanical lions flanked the throne, roaring and switching their great tails; and that, as he stood watching, the emperor's throne suddenly shot upward toward the high ceiling, and when it slowly descended the emperor was wearing new robes. Early automata (notice the common plural form) often relied on water, steam, or falling weights to power them. Today automata, often called robots, are used in manufacturing plants to build not only vehicles but also much smaller electronic equipment.

Origin and Etymology of automaton

Latin, from Greek, neuter of automatos — see 1automatic

Other Mechanical Engineering Terms


AUTOMATON Defined for English Language Learners

automaton

noun

Definition of automaton for English Language Learners

  • : a machine that can move by itself

  • : a person who acts in a mechanical or machinelike way



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