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

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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 My first thought from the couch: another golf robot. Peter Mehlman, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: ‘Scrupulosity Rooting’ for sports with a social consciousness keeps you in reality," 6 Nov. 2020 British online grocer Ocado is acquiring two U.S.-based robotics startups: warehouse robot-maker Kindred Systems for $262 million and robotic arm-maker Haddington Dynamics for $25 million. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Why regulators sidelined Ant Financial’s record-setting IPO," 3 Nov. 2020 A few years later, a robot in San Francisco that had been programmed to prevent homeless encampments was attacked, perhaps unsurprisingly, by homeless people themselves. Bonnie Miller Rubin, WSJ, "What Makes People Abuse Robots," 2 Nov. 2020 Video released by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti shows the robot in action. Fox News, "LA debuts first firefighting robot in the country, deploys it in downtown blaze," 14 Oct. 2020 Home Deals Read our guides on robot vacuums, mattresses to learn more. Medea Giordano, Wired, "18 Great Deals From Walmart's ‘Big Save’ Sale," 12 Oct. 2020 This Lego robot-making kit Keeping the kids entertained without the usual go-tos of the movies, theme parks, community pools and the like can be challenging, but this Lego Boost creative toolbox will certainly help. Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Thursday," 2 July 2020 The Eufy RoboVac 11s is our favorite affordable robot vacuum because of its impressive dirt pickup and quiet operation. Reviewed Staff, USA TODAY, "100 amazing gifts for every type of person and budget," 30 Oct. 2020 In comparison, the Roomba 675 (a $249.99 robot vacuum) only lasts for about 70 minutes before needing a recharge. Jason Cipriani, CNN Underscored, "This robot vacuum is more affordable than a Roomba and only lacks the smarts," 22 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for robot

Time Traveler

The first known use of robot was in 1922

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Last Updated

15 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Robot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on robot

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

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