Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Acting or operating in a manner essentially independent of external influence or control.
  • adjective Self-regulating.
  • adjective Acting or done without volition or conscious control; involuntary.
  • adjective Acting or done as if by machine; mechanical.
  • adjective Capable of firing continuously until ammunition is exhausted or the trigger is released.
  • adjective Semiautomatic.
  • noun An automatic machine or device.
  • noun An automatic firearm.
  • noun A semiautomatic firearm.
  • noun A transmission or a motor vehicle with an automatic gear-shifting mechanism.
  • idiom (on automatic) Functioning by or as if by automatic machine or device.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun One who is subject to automatism.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun light machine gun.
  • noun a pistol that will keep firing until the ammunition is gone or the trigger is released.
  • adjective Having an inherent power of action or motion.
  • adjective 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.
  • adjective (Physiol.) Not voluntary; not depending on the will; mechanical; controlled by the autonomic nervous system; without conscious control. The opposite of voluntary.
  • adjective like the unthinking functioning of a machine.
  • adjective such economic arts or manufacture as are carried on by self-acting machinery.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[From Greek automatos : auto-, auto- + -matos, willing; see men- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

Examples

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