[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

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

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

    The Dueling Machine

    Benjamin William Bova

  • We must modernize our unemployment insurance and establish a high-level commission on automation.

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


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • Strong emphasis was placed on the introduction of automation in both production and management processes.

    Area Handbook for Bulgaria

    Eugene K. Keefe, Violeta D. Baluyut, William Giloane, Anne K. Long, James M. Moore, and Neda A. Walpole

  • Automation rationalized away the literate component of many activities.

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