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[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.
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 automatons
  • Show us the belly-bomber cuisines and haunted-house automatons.
  • In reality, insects, reptiles and non-human animals often serve as a more practical template for automatons.
  • In reality, insects, reptiles and nonhuman animals often serve as a more practical template for automatons.
  • Moreover, they can freely resist the hypnotist's suggestions and are far from mindless automatons.
  • Both models of the molecular computer are so-called automatons.
  • The novel automatons are still limited in their exploring abilities--they can't climb stairs, for instance.
  • And it has to do with magic and automatons and great lessons.
  • These characters live in a steampunk-inspired world of robotic butlers, clumsy automatons, and rudimentary mechanical devices.
  • To not encourage art among students would be to manufacture a legion of automatons, controlled by the government and corporations.
  • They want automatons to obey their bosses, not priests capable of leading or inspiring a diverse, modern flock.
British Dictionary definitions for automatons


/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 automatons



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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