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 Team Berrybotics in the Solana Beach School District recently won first place in robot performance, as well as the champion award, advancing them to the regional level of the FIRST Lego League competition. San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Jan. 2023 Though Spot is an industrial robot, Boston Dynamics may develop a consumer-facing variant. Jess Joho, Los Angeles Times, 28 Jan. 2023 Prime members can also get Lefant's robot vacuum cleaner on sale right now. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Peoplemag, 28 Jan. 2023 For this lunchtime production run, each robot is making 15 salads. Scott Kirsner,, 27 Jan. 2023 HiPhi, another Chinese IEV brand, develops robot cars for customers to program and interact with, such that a user can make the car dance or play a musical show. Shaoshan Liu, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2023 Paul Smith's plethora of cufflinks is a hoot and a half: from the robot-shaped and the paperclip-shaped to the ones that resemble a plane, a spinning globe, a bottle of champagne, or a hot dog... Maverick Li, Men's Health, 26 Jan. 2023 This week's filings with the Public Utilities Commission show how even the embryonic robot ride-hailing services in San Francisco can disrupt traffic. WIRED, 26 Jan. 2023 But Peretti, sitting in his California home in late December, started probing how the developing robot writing technology could quickly be infused into the very DNA of BuzzFeed. Oliver Darcy, CNN, 26 Jan. 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 9 Feb. 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

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