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 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 How to pronounce robot (audio) , -​bə-​ \ noun

Examples of robot in a Sentence

The cars are assembled by robots.
Recent Examples on the Web More than $50 off: The best value cordless vacuum cleaner Manufactured by the same company that makes the beloved Ecovacs robot vacuums is the Tineco A10 Hero cordless stick vacuum, which is currently $59 off. Christine Persaud, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Tuesday," 17 Feb. 2021 Understanding their movement gives engineers a model for shape-shifting robot swarms. Eric Niiler, Wired, "Researchers Are Studying These Worm Blobs to Build Robots," 17 Feb. 2021 Mars’s orbit will become crowded in February as three countries’ space robot probes are set to arrive. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Mars exploration to ramp up with arrival of various space probes," 8 Feb. 2021 One of the probes on this robot geophysicist was the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, or HP3. Robin George Andrews, Scientific American, "NASA Ends Efforts to Deploy Mars InSight's 'Mole'," 20 Jan. 2021 Its maker, Macroact, says it’s an artificially intelligent, autonomous robot cat. Wilson Rothman, WSJ, "Best of CES 2021: The (Virtual) Tech Show’s Weirdest and Most Wondrous Gadgets," 15 Jan. 2021 Most robot swarms coordinate their movements via a centralized computer that tells them where to go, in the form of GPS coordinates. Meagan Cantwell, Science | AAAS, "Swarms of robotic fish can synchronize their swimming, for the first time," 15 Jan. 2021 It was set in a Vegas-y cityscape, with Tesfaye backed by a sizable robot choir turned human choir turned string section. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Super Bowl Music: The Weeknd’s Self-Loathing, Springsteen’s Jeep, and Dolly Parton’s Gig Economy," 8 Feb. 2021 Enter Vision, looking every inch like Michael Gross in Family Ties — that is, if Gross had a robot face. Abraham Riesman, Vulture, "WandaVision Recap: I Want Your Hex," 5 Feb. 2021

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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Last Updated

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Robot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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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 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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