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[roh-buh t, -bot] /ˈroʊ bət, -bɒt/
a machine that resembles a human and does mechanical, routine tasks on command.
a person who acts and responds in a mechanical, routine manner, usually subject to another's will; automaton.
any machine or mechanical device that operates automatically with humanlike skill.
operating automatically:
a robot train operating between airline terminals.
< Czech, coined by Karel Čapek in the play R.U.R. (1920) from the base robot-, as in robota compulsory labor, robotník peasant owing such labor
Related forms
robotism, noun
robotic, robotistic
[roh-buh-tis-tik, -bo-] /ˌroʊ bəˈtɪs tɪk, -bɒ-/ (Show IPA),
robotlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for robot
  • The floor-scrubbing robot has a logic of its own as it washes floors.
  • The robot is designed to snake through dark, narrow air conditioning ducts and spot obstacles along the way.
  • robot dogs, for example, need only a change of batteries.
  • New models of robot vacuum cleaners are sure signs that the household robot field is finally taking off.
  • Of course, full human employment may not be a part of a sentient robot overlord's grand plan.
  • The simulated environment comes complete with robot arms for lifting packages off a conveyor belt and placing them on pallets.
  • And here's today's bonus video, watch robot flowers come to life.
  • Someday, in a house next door, a robot may be playing a game of cribbage with an elderly widow.
  • Long a staple of science fiction, self-driving vehicles that act as robot chauffeurs have been a cultural dream for decades.
  • It would seem that putting a robot onto a bike would be a pointless exercise akin to putting gas-powered horses before a carriage.
British Dictionary definitions for robot


any automated machine programmed to perform specific mechanical functions in the manner of a man
(modifier) not controlled by man; automatic: a robot pilot
a person who works or behaves like a machine; automaton
(South African) a set of traffic lights
Derived Forms
robotic, adjective
robotism, robotry, noun
robot-like, adjective
Word Origin
C20: (used in R.U.R., a play by Karel Čapek) from Czech robota work; related to Old Slavonic rabota servitude, German Arbeit work
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 robot

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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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robot in Medicine

robot ro·bot (rō'bət, -bŏt')

  1. 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.

  2. A machine or device that operates automatically or by remote control.

  3. A person who works mechanically without original thought, especially one who responds automatically to the commands of others.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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robot in Science
A machine designed to replace human beings in performing a variety of tasks, either on command or by being programmed in advance.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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robot in Technology

1. A mechanical device for performing a task which might otherwise be done by a human, e.g. spraying paint on cars.
See also cybernetics.
2. An IRC or MUD user who is actually a program. On IRC, typically the robot provides some useful service. Examples are NickServ, which tries to prevent random users from adopting nicks already claimed by others, and MsgServ, which allows one to send asynchronous messages to be delivered when the recipient signs on. Also common are "annoybots", such as KissServ, which perform no useful function except to send cute messages to other people. Service robots are less common on MUDs; but some others, such as the "Julia" robot active in 1990--91, have been remarkably impressive Turing test experiments, able to pass as human for as long as ten or fifteen minutes of conversation.
3. spider.
[Jargon File]
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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