9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[aw-tom-uh-tuh] /ɔˈtɒm ə tə/
a plural of automaton.


[aw-tom-uh-ton, -tn] /ɔˈtɒm əˌtɒn, -tn/
noun, plural automatons, automata
[aw-tom-uh-tuh] /ɔˈtɒm ə tə/ (Show IPA)
a mechanical figure or contrivance constructed to act as if by its own motive power; robot.
a person or animal that acts in a monotonous, routine manner, without active intelligence.
something capable of acting automatically or without an external motive force.
Origin of automaton
1605-15; < Latin: automatic device < Greek, noun use of neuter of autómatos spontaneous, acting without human agency, equivalent to auto- auto-1 + -matos, adj. derivative from base of memonénai to intend, ménos might, force
Related forms
automatous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for automata
  • Not so different basic from many dystopias when humans are turned into automata.
  • Roy's far from the only artist working with finely-crafted wooden automata.
  • Wolfram and others in their work on cellular automata have pointed us in the right direction.
  • The elderly were strange automata of prescriptions and adages, as if they had been replaced by their own fictions.
  • The moderns have striven to make working automata, and have succeeded.
  • Its people become automata, acting as no human beings ever acted, obviously stalking through a mechanical plot.
  • They'd become museum pieces, relics and statues and toys and automata.
  • But since his brilliant friends were human beings and not high-powered automata, their trajectories proved far from predictable.
  • The expressive power of such automata varies depending on the acceptance conditions of the trees.
British Dictionary definitions for automata


a plural of automaton


/ɔːˈtɒməˌtɒn; -tən/
noun (pl) -tons, -ta (-tə)
a mechanical device operating under its own hidden power; robot
a person who acts mechanically or leads a routine monotonous life
Derived Forms
automatous, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin, from Greek, from automatos spontaneous, self-moving
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for automata



1610s, from Latin automaton (Suetonius), from Greek automaton, neuter of automatos "self-acting," from autos "self" (see auto-) + matos "thinking, animated, willing," from PIE *mn-to-, from root *men- "to think" (see mind (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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automata in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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