[aw-tuh-mey-shuh n]


the technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process by highly automatic means, as by electronic devices, reducing human intervention to a minimum.
a mechanical device, operated electronically, that functions automatically, without continuous input from an operator.
act or process of automating.
the state of being automated.

Origin of automation

First recorded in 1945–50; autom(atic) + (oper)ation
Related formspro·au·to·ma·tion, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for automation

computerization, industrialization, mechanization

Examples from the Web for automation

Contemporary Examples of automation

  • Heroin blocks this automation so that when you fall asleep, you stop breathing.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Heroin: America’s Silent Assassin

    Dr. Anand Veeravagu, MD, Robert M. Lober, MD, PhD

    February 3, 2014

  • Beyond doubt, the steady advance of automation on airplane flight decks has greatly helped to reduce accidents.

    The Daily Beast logo
    2010's Unsafe Skies

    Clive Irving

    December 30, 2010

Historical Examples of automation

  • He complained of segregation and unemployment, and automation in the United States.

    Warren Commission (1 of 26): Hearings Vol. I (of 15)

    The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy

  • Automation or not, Leoh thought smilingly, there were certain human values that transcended mere efficiency.

    The Dueling Machine

    Benjamin William Bova

  • Automation, the second industrial revolution, has eliminated for all practical purposes the need for their labor.


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • Automation at its ultimate, not even the steward department had tasks adequately to fill the hours.


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • Even where men could have taken charge, automation was cheaper, more reliable, less risky of lives.

    Industrial Revolution

    Poul William Anderson

British Dictionary definitions for automation



the use of methods for controlling industrial processes automatically, esp by electronically controlled systems, often reducing manpower
the extent to which a process is so controlled
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 automation

1948, in the manufacturing sense, coined by Ford Motor Co. Vice President Delmar S. Harder, from automatic + -ion. Earlier (1838) was automatism, which meant "quality of being automatic" in the classical sense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper