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See more synonyms for automata on Thesaurus.com
  1. a plural of automaton.
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[aw-tom-uh-ton, -tn]
noun, plural au·tom·a·tons, au·tom·a·ta [aw-tom-uh-tuh] /ɔˈtɒm ə tə/.
  1. a mechanical figure or contrivance constructed to act as if by its own motive power; robot.
  2. a person or animal that acts in a monotonous, routine manner, without active intelligence.
  3. something capable of acting automatically or without an external motive force.
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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 formsau·tom·a·tous, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for automata

engine, apparatus, automobile, tool, appliance, instrument, motor, vehicle, gadget, contraption, widget, robot, mechanism, computer, contrivance, implement, thingamabob, automaton, laborer, clone

Examples from the Web for automata

Historical Examples of automata

  • Vaucanson, however, did not confine himself merely to the making of automata.


    Samuel Smiles

  • It was simultaneous on the part of all, and resembled that of automata, moved by machinery.

  • But in the case of man, what automata, indeed, have we not here!

  • There they stood, automata, representatives of the society which streamed past them.

  • You think, too, then, that were all in such a rut; living Chinese lives; automata?

    Adrienne Toner

    Anne Douglas Sedgwick

British Dictionary definitions for automata


  1. a plural of automaton
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noun plural -tons or -ta (-tə)
  1. a mechanical device operating under its own hidden power; robot
  2. a person who acts mechanically or leads a routine monotonous life
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Derived Formsautomatous, adjective

Word Origin for automaton

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

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.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper