ro·​bot | \ ˈrō-ˌbät How to pronounce robot (audio) , -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 1
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

Other Words from robot

robotism \ ˈrō-​ˌbä-​ˌti-​zəm How to pronounce robot (audio) , -​bə-​ \ 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.

Examples of robot in a Sentence

The cars are assembled by robots.
Recent Examples on the Web There are likely to be discounts on Apple products, robot vacuums, smart cookware, laptops and many other tech items; plus sales on best-selling beauty products, Amazon’s in-house fashion brands and more. Danielle Directo-meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 May 2022 The penguins are unphased by the robot, which acts like a mobile antenna for an observatory monitoring about 300 of them each year. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 29 Apr. 2022 The first industrial robot, Unimate, starts working on an assembly line in a General Motors plant in New Jersey. Gil Press, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 Also on the city’s list is an Avatar tactical robot, purchased for $28,009. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Apr. 2022 Students got to try their hand at robotic assisted surgery with the da Vinci XI robot, Monday, April 18, 2022. Connor Sanders, The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 Apr. 2022 Our expert Cleaning Lab team is constantly testing and recommending all kinds of vacuums, like robot vacuums, handheld vacuums, vacuums for pet hair, vacuums for hardwood floors and even budget-friendly vacuums under $100. Carolyn Forté, Good Housekeeping, 5 May 2022 FedEx has also been testing autonomous robotic deliveries, with the expansion of pilots for its Roxo robot. Steve Banker, Forbes, 1 May 2022 From time-saving appliances like food processors to tech-savvy items like robot vacuums, there's something for everyone. Bianca Rodriguez, Good Housekeeping, 19 Apr. 2022 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.

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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Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Robot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for robot


ro·​bot | \ ˈrō-ˌbät How to pronounce robot (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on robot

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


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