robot

noun

ro·​bot ˈrō-ˌbät How to pronounce robot (audio)
-bət
plural robots
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 1
2
a
: 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
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 On one level the conflicts in these movies are insular: communities of color are set against one another, which is so much more real than an evil robot or a big purple dude snapping half the universe away. Maya Phillips, New York Times, 25 Nov. 2022 The Prime Video documentary follows Opportunity’s journey on Mars and the bond forged between the robot and the humans who built and took care of it from millions of miles away. Andy Meek, BGR, 6 Nov. 2022 The shelves are already filled with robot and model car kits, magnetic play tiles and Legos. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 1 Nov. 2022 This time around, the witches soar across the skies of Salem on a Swiffer and robot vacuum cleaners. Antonio Ferme, Variety, 28 Sep. 2022 Amazon is rolling out its first major software update to Astro, an autonomous 20-pound dog-like robot with large, cartoon-y eyes on its tablet face, and a cup holder. Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN, 28 Sep. 2022 Musk contends Twitter officials have publicly issued misleading numbers on how many spam and robot accounts are included among its more than 230 million customers. Jef Feeley, Fortune, 26 Aug. 2022 Musk contends the social media company isn't producing the names of employees specifically responsible for evaluating how much of Twitter's customer base is made up of spam and robot accounts... Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, 11 Aug. 2022 When a person writes as many perfect songs in as brief a period of time as Lamont Dozier did, other people’s temptation is to liken the labor to that of a machine or a robot or an industrial plant. Los Angeles Times, 9 Aug. 2022 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

Etymology

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

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near robot

Cite this Entry

“Robot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/robot. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

robot

noun

ro·​bot ˈrō-ˌbät How to pronounce robot (audio)
1
a
: a machine that looks and acts like a human being
b
: a capable but unfeeling person
2
: a device that automatically performs tasks that are complicated and often continuously repeated
robotic
rō-ˈbät-ik
adjective
robotically
-i-k(ə-)lē
adverb

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