semi·​au·​to·​mat·​ic | \ ˌse-mē-ˌȯ-tə-ˈma-tik How to pronounce semiautomatic (audio) , ˌse-ˌmī-, -mi-\

Definition of semiautomatic

: not fully automatic: such as
a : operated partly automatically and partly by hand
b of a firearm : able to fire repeatedly through an automatic reloading process but requiring release and another pressure of the trigger for each successive shot a semiautomatic rifle

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Other Words from semiautomatic

semiautomatic noun
semiautomatically \ ˌse-​mē-​ˌȯ-​tə-​ˈma-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce semiautomatically (audio) , ˌse-​ˌmī-​ , -​mi-​ \ adverb

Examples of semiautomatic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Her hyperactive black-and-white writing flashes on mobile LED screens, with text popping in the awful rapid fire of semiautomatic weapons. Allie Holloway, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sarah Chadwick, Laura Dern, & Diane Kruger Fight for Gun Violence Prevention," 20 Feb. 2019 The first gun seizure under the law occurred in April when Florida authorities confiscated an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle from an Army veteran. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "More than 450 people in Florida ordered to give up guns under new law, report says," 30 July 2018 Initiative 1639 will raise the legal age to buy semiautomatic rifles — widely described as assault rifles — from 18 to 21. German Lopez, Vox, "Washington votes to strengthen gun laws with Initiative 1639," 7 Nov. 2018 On gun rights, Kavanaugh has taken a broad reading of the Second Amendment, writing in a 2011 dissent that the District of Columbia should not be allowed to ban semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines. Brian Bennett, Time, "How Brett Kavanaugh Could Change the Supreme Court—and America," 12 July 2018 Walker unveiled the legislation in March after a gunman with a semiautomatic rifle killed 17 at a high school in Parkland. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Nearly $45 million in Wisconsin school safety grants is left over as Brad Schimel seeks new ways to spend," 6 July 2018 In 1996, a man armed with a semiautomatic rifle went on a rampage on the Australian island of Tasmania, killing 35 people; the gunman was captured after a 12-hour standoff at a guest cottage, and is now serving a life prison sentence. Kaylee Remington,, "Cleveland police investigating after 6-month-old baby dies," 28 Apr. 2018 Other bills have been proposed since the Parkland, Fla., shooting, including raising to 21 the minimum age to buy semiautomatic rifles. Mike Cason,, "Arming teachers scheduled for debate in Alabama House," 18 Mar. 2018 Sodini stepped into their room at 8:15, switched off the lights, drew a pair of Glock semiautomatic pistols and began shooting. David J. Krajicek,, "'Incel' killers: Man who gunned down three women in 2009 set tone for 'involuntary celibate' mass murderers," 6 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'semiautomatic.' 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 semiautomatic

1853, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

7 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for semiautomatic

The first known use of semiautomatic was in 1853

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English Language Learners Definition of semiautomatic

of a gun : able to fire bullets one after the other quickly but not automatically

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