Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Acting or operating in a manner essentially independent of external influence or control: an automatic light switch; a budget deficit that triggered automatic spending cuts.
  • adj. Self-regulating: an automatic washing machine.
  • adj. Acting or done without volition or conscious control; involuntary: automatic shrinking of the pupils of the eyes in strong light. See Synonyms at spontaneous.
  • adj. Acting or done as if by machine; mechanical: an automatic reply to a familiar question.
  • adj. Capable of firing continuously until ammunition is exhausted or the trigger is released: an automatic rifle.
  • adj. Semiautomatic: an automatic pistol.
  • n. An automatic machine or device.
  • n. An automatic firearm.
  • n. A semiautomatic firearm.
  • n. A transmission or a motor vehicle with an automatic gear-shifting mechanism.
  • n. Football See audible.
  • idiom on automatic Functioning by or as if by automatic machine or device.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Capable of operating without external control or intervention.
  • adj. Done out of habit or without conscious thought.
  • adj. Firing continuously as long as the trigger is pressed until ammunition is exhausted.
  • adj. Automatically added to and removed from the stack during the course of function calls.
  • n. A car with automatic transmission.
  • n. A semi-automatic firearm.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having an inherent power of action or motion.
  • adj. Pertaining to, or produced by, an automaton; of the nature of an automaton; self-acting or self-regulating under fixed conditions; operating with minimal human intervention; -- esp. applied to machinery or devices in which certain things formerly or usually done by hand are done by the machine or device itself; The opposite of manual.
  • adj. Not voluntary; not depending on the will; mechanical; controlled by the autonomic nervous system; without conscious control. The opposite of voluntary.
  • adj. like the unthinking functioning of a machine.
  • n. light machine gun.
  • n. a pistol that will keep firing until the ammunition is gone or the trigger is released.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Acting as an automaton.
  • Conducted or carried on by self-acting machinery.
  • In physiology: Not voluntary; not under the control of, or not effected by, volition: said of certain muscular actions.
  • Not reflex: said, for example, of certain activities of ganglion-cells.
  • n. One who is subject to automatism.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. resembling the unthinking functioning of a machine
  • n. a pistol that will keep firing until the ammunition is gone or the trigger is released
  • adj. operating with minimal human intervention; independent of external control
  • adj. without volition or conscious control
  • n. light machine gun

Etymologies

From Greek automatos : auto-, auto- + -matos, willing; see men-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French automatique, from Ancient Greek αὐτόματον (automaton), neuter of αὐτόματος (automatos, "selfmoving, moving of oneself, self-acting, spontaneous"), from αὐτός (autos, "self, myself") + μέμαα (memaa, "to wish eagerly, strive, yearn, desire"). (Wiktionary)

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