ro·​bot ˈrō-ˌbät How to pronounce robot (audio)
plural robots
: 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 1
: 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
: a mechanism guided by automatic controls
a robot airplane
: 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
robotism noun

Did you know?

In 1920, Czech writer Karel Čapek published a play titled R.U.R. Those initials stood for "Rossum's Universal Robots," which was the name of a fictional company that manufactured human-like machines designed to perform hard, dull, dangerous work for people. The machines in the play eventually grew to resent their jobs and rebelled—with disastrous results for humans. During the writing of his play, Čapek consulted with his brother, the painter and writer Josef Čapek, who suggested the name robot for these machines, from the Czech word robota, which means "forced labor." Robot made its way into our language in 1922 when R.U.R. was translated into English.

Example Sentences

The cars are assembled by robots.
Recent Examples on the Web However, purchasing a robot vacuum can be a great way to keep pet hair off of your hard floors and carpets with the touch of a button. Samantha Jones, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Mar. 2023 Bateman tasks Caleb with conducting a Turing test (an analysis created by Alan Turing to measure a machine’s consciousness) on a humanoid robot named Ava. Men's Health, 17 Mar. 2023 Take, for instance, the example of a last-mile delivery robot. Roland Polzin, Forbes, 16 Mar. 2023 Once it's fully charged, the robot vacuum can run for up to 100 minutes at a time before automatically heading back to its charging dock. Amy Schulman, Peoplemag, 11 Mar. 2023 X1 Omni robot vacuum is on sale for $999.99 at Amazon and direct from Ecovacs. Sheena Vasani, The Verge, 11 Mar. 2023 This week, Amazon Prime members can save up to 41 percent on iRobot Roomba robot vacuums. Josie Howell |, al, 10 Mar. 2023 Tesla also is working on a humanoid robot dubbed Optimus. Rebecca Elliott, WSJ, 2 Mar. 2023 And a 2020 study found that adding a single robot to expedite manufacturing jobs destroyed 3.3 jobs nationwide. Tristan Bove, Fortune, 21 Feb. 2023 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1922, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of robot was in 1922


Dictionary Entries Near robot

Cite this Entry

“Robot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


ro·​bot ˈrō-ˌbät How to pronounce robot (audio)
: a machine that looks and acts like a human being
: a capable but unfeeling person
: a device that automatically performs tasks that are complicated and often continuously repeated

from Czech robot "a machine that looks human and performs dull or dangerous work," from robota "forced labor, work"

More from Merriam-Webster on robot

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