Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
1923, from English translation of 1920 play "R.U.R." ("Rossum's Universal Robots"), by Karel Capek (1890-1938), from Czech robotnik "slave," from robota "forced labor, compulsory service, drudgery," from robotiti "to work, drudge," from an Old Czech source akin to Old Church Slavonic rabota "servitude," from rabu "slave," from Old Slavic *orbu-, from PIE *orbh- "pass from one status to another" (see orphan). The Slavic word thus is a cousin to German Arbeit "work" (Old High German arabeit). According to Rawson the word was popularized by Karel Capek's play, "but was coined by his brother Josef (the two often collaborated), who used it initially in a short story."
robot ro·bot (rō'bət, -bŏt')
A mechanical device that sometimes resembles a human and is capable of performing a variety of often complex human tasks on command or by being programmed in advance.
A machine or device that operates automatically or by remote control.
A person who works mechanically without original thought, especially one who responds automatically to the commands of others.