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 The Japanese giant believes AI will create smarter cameras, more cunning videogame characters, and even the first helpful kitchen robots. Will Knight, Wired, "Sony Envisions an AI-Fueled World, From Kitchen Bots to Games," 13 Feb. 2020 At some point this year, the Boston Dynamics robot will begin patrolling Aker BP's oil and gas production vessel at the Skarv field in the Norwegian Sea, Bloomberg reports. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "The Boston Dynamics Robot Dog Got a Job on an Oil Rig," 11 Feb. 2020 In a few minutes, the robot arrived at the restaurant. Cindy Heflin, Detroit Free Press, "In Ann Arbor, you can order lunch and have it delivered by a robot," 8 Feb. 2020 As a condition of the exemption, NHTSA is requiring Nuro to report to the agency about the operation of the R2 and to conduct public outreach in areas where the robot is used. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "The feds just blessed a custom self-driving vehicle for the first time," 7 Feb. 2020 However, the robots demand much more energy than real animals do and are typically tethered by a power cord. Kate Baggaley, Popular Science, "Bionic jellyfish can swim three times faster," 31 Jan. 2020 The robot eventually turns the whole world into a giant paper clip factory. Quanta Magazine, "Artificial Intelligence Will Do What We Ask. That’s a Problem.," 30 Jan. 2020 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

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

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Robot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on robot

Spanish Central: Translation of robot

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

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