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 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 nounFor 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from robot

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

Examples of robot in a Sentence

The cars are assembled by robots.
Recent Examples on the Web The researchers at Cornell confirmed the robots gripping ability with a 3-pronged grabber, more like the claw in an arcade game than a human hand. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Robotic Hand Stays Cool by Sweating," 1 Feb. 2020 The robots also demonstrated Ableton's ability to cut-and-paste song snippets together into a mega-mix, whether it was manipulated live at all or not. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Dance Music at the 2020 Grammys: A Billboard Dance Contributor Roundtable," 23 Jan. 2020 After all, imagine if the robot ran out of water supply while cleaning the 60th floor of a high-rise. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Suction Cups Kinda Suck. This Wall-Climbing Robot Could Make Them Better," 21 Jan. 2020 But this wouldn’t be technically and economically feasible without fiber’s ability to move massive amounts of data to and from the applications controlling the robots on the factory floor. Jeff Storey, Fortune, "5G’s side streets will be empty without fiber’s interstate," 19 Jan. 2020 Two years later, the robot took over the company in a proxy fight. Jake Tuck, The New Yorker, "Honest Founder Narratives," 16 Jan. 2020 Of all the robots at CES, this one might have been the most bizarre. NBC News, "CES 2020: The big takeaways from tech's weirdest trade show," 10 Jan. 2020 One seemingly flip answer is starting to gain some attention: Just tax the robots. Richard Rubin, WSJ, "The ‘Robot Tax’ Debate Heats Up," 8 Jan. 2020 The robot had seemingly started and gotten stuck, its beeping and banging made the audible muck. Arkansas Online, "North Carolina couple call 911 on vacuum thought to be intruder," 27 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about robot

Time Traveler for robot

Time Traveler

The first known use of robot was in 1922

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about robot

Statistics for robot

Last Updated

5 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Robot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for robot


How to pronounce robot (audio)

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!