a. 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.
b. Self-regulating: an automatic washing machine.
Acting or done without volition or conscious control; involuntary: automatic shrinking of the pupils of the eyes in strong light.
See Synonyms at spontaneous
b. Acting or done as if by machine; mechanical: an automatic reply to a familiar question.
a. Capable of firing continuously until ammunition is exhausted or the trigger is released: an automatic rifle.
b. Semiautomatic: an automatic pistol.
- An automatic machine or device.
a. An automatic firearm.
b. A semiautomatic firearm.
- A transmission or a motor vehicle with an automatic gear-shifting mechanism.
- Football See audible.
Origin: From Greek automatos
Origin: : auto-, auto-
Origin: + -matos, willing; see men-1 in Indo-European roots
- auˌto·matˈi·cal·ly adverb
- auˌto·ma·ticˈi·ty (-mə-tĭsˈĭ-tē) noun
The words automatic pilot
or automatic transmission
bring to mind mechanical devices that operate with minimal human intervention. Yet the word automatic,
which goes back to the Greek word automatos,
“acting of one's own will, self-acting, of itself,” made up of two parts, auto-,
“self,” and -matos,
“willing,” is first recorded in English in 1748 with reference to motions of the body, such as the peristaltic action of the intestines: “The Motions are called automatic from their Resemblance to the Motions of Automata, or Machines, whose Principle of Motion is within themselves.” Although the writer had machines in mind, automatic
could be used of living things, a use we still have. The association of automatic
chiefly with machinery may represent one instance of many in which we have come to see the world in mechanical terms.