ro·bot | \ˈrō-ˌbät, -bət\
plural robots

Definition of robot 

1 : a machine that resembles a living creature in being capable of moving independently (as by walking or rolling on wheels) and performing complex actions (such as grasping and moving objects) When the next space launch heads for Mars, on board will be dozens of tiny mobile robots that will fan out across the Martian landscape, exploring every nook and cranny.— Michael Bowker often : such a machine built to resemble a human being or animal in appearance and behavior While science fiction robots have been capable of independent thought, emotions, even a little cooking and sewing, scientists are finding that endowing a mechanical being with even the most basic human functions is a monumental challenge. — Greg Freiherr As a sign of the times, paleontologists themselves have taken to … designing dinosaur robots and displays … — Malcolm W. Browne often used before another noun a robot dog a robot servant — compare android, bot entry 3

2a : a device that automatically performs complicated, often repetitive tasks (as in an industrial assembly line) the use of robots in car manufacturing … factories run by robots producing many replicas of one product.— Morris Philipson often used before another noun For fluid applications, especially in the automotive industry, the robot arm must have extremely flexible movement.— Harry H. Poole

b : a mechanism guided by automatic controls a robot airplane

3 : a person who resembles a machine in seeming to function automatically or in lacking normal feelings or emotions … seems to believe that professors are robots, students are superficial, grade-hungry receptacles …— Micaela Rubalcava

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Other Words from robot

robotism \ˈrō-ˌbä-ˌti-zəm, -bə- \ noun

Examples of robot in a Sentence

The cars are assembled by robots.

Recent Examples on the Web

Blomkamp’s tech-heavy films, featuring all manner of exo-suits, robots, political conflicts, and bloody splatter effects owe much of their identity to the 1987 film. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "Why 'Robocop' and Neill Blomkamp Need Each Other," 11 July 2018 From faces and hearts on large buildings' inner pillars to a hat on a curbside fire hydrant, to a robot, haloed in pink, flashing a peace sign from a cinder-block wall, his images show a vast city-scape of possibility. Robert Allen, Detroit Free Press, "4,000 miles of Detroit art: A man with a camera, a bicycle and a goal," 5 July 2018 On Friday, Disney Parks released a new video showcasing its acrobatic new robots, beings designed to move much like an agile human, only more precisely and also they're made of metal. Tom Philip, GQ, "Cool, Disney Parks Imagineers Are Making Actual *Killer Robots Now," 29 June 2018 The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was on scene alongside the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which inspected the car using K-9s and a robot, according to local reports. Erin B. Logan,, "Disgruntled veteran lights himself on fire to protest VA at Georgia Capitol," 26 June 2018 More: Should Google let businesses know their human-sounding robot is calling? Jennifer Jolly, USA TODAY, "Here's why you're getting more Chinese language robocalls," 3 July 2018 Will robots cause the factory to go the way of the farm? Mark P. Mills, WSJ, "Robots Run the Farm, but You Can Eat Only So Much," 25 June 2018 Dragons and robots and Alec Baldwin's Trump, oh my. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Sorry, not sorry: The snubs and smart picks of the 2018 Emmy nominations," 12 July 2018 Here's what riders and the company learned from letting robots take the wheel. Jessi Hempel, WIRED, "The Rise And Fall of Uber HR Chief Liane Hornsey," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'robot.' 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 robot

1922, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for robot

Czech, from robota compulsory labor; akin to Old High German arabeit trouble, Latin orbus orphaned — more at orphan

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Dictionary Entries near robot





robot bomb



Statistics for robot

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for robot

The first known use of robot was in 1922

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More Definitions for robot



English Language Learners Definition of robot

: a real or imaginary machine that is controlled by a computer and is often made to look like a human or animal

: a machine that can do the work of a person and that works automatically or is controlled by a computer


ro·bot | \ˈrō-ˌbät \

Kids Definition of robot

1 : a machine that looks and acts like a human being

2 : a machine that can do the work of a person automatically or under the control of a computer

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More from Merriam-Webster on robot

Spanish Central: Translation of robot

Nglish: Translation of robot for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about robot

Comments on robot

What made you want to look up robot? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

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