droid

[ droid ]
/ drɔɪd /

noun Informal.

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Origin of droid

by shortening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

BEHIND THE WORD

What else does droid mean?

Droid is short for android, meaning “robot.”

The word droid is popularly known for its use as the name for intelligent robots in Star Wars. Some of the franchise’s most famous droids include R2-D2, C-3P0, and BB-8.

What are some other words related to droid?

Wookiee
Jedi
storm trooper
Baby Yoda

Where does droid come from?

The word droid is a shortened form of the word android. An android is a robot, especially an artificially intelligent one that resembles a human. While the word android is recorded in the 1700s, they became common as humanoid robot characters in science fiction in the 1900s. Androids have appeared in science fiction since at least the 1930s in such stories as the Cometeers by Jack Williamson.

Droid as a shortened form of android is first recorded in a 1952 science fiction story “Robots of the World! Arise!” (1952) where it was used alongside a shortened version of robot: “They’re stopping robots in the streets—household Robs, commercial Droids, all of them.”

Droid became much more popular starting in 1977 thanks to its use in Star Wars: Episode IV–A New Hope, written and directed by George Lucas. In the screenplay for A New Hope, Lucas first describes the robot C-3P0 as “a bronze android,” and then uses the word droid throughout dialogue and stage directions in the rest of the script. Despite Mari Wolf’s earlier usage, Lucasfilm successfully trademarked droid in 2008.

In Star Wars: A New Hope, the word droid was used to refer to both humanoid robot C-3P0 and the smaller R2-D2—who looks more like a (very lovable) trash can on wheels. Since A New Hope, the term droid has been used in Star Wars to refer to a variety of robots and automatons of varying degrees of artificial intelligence. Droids are distinguished from one another by descriptors, such as C-3P0 being called a protocol droid, and R2-D2 being called an astromech droid. The official Star Wars database lists hundreds of different kinds of droids.

In Star Wars, most droids are programmed not to harm humans, but there are exceptions such as the assassin droid IG-88 and the battle droids from the prequel trilogy of films. Even after the Star Wars franchise was purchased by Disney, droids such as the round astromech droid BB-8 have continued to appear in the Star Wars universe.

How is droid used in real life?

Today, droid is still used to refer to androids and robots in the media, especially in science fiction. Actual machines are occasionally, and affectionately, called droids.

Lucasfilm, however, has actively enforced its trademark of the word droid; Verizon Wireless licenses its naming rights for its Motorola Droid line of smartphones from Lucasfilm. So, in commercial contexts, droid is primarily used by Star Wars. Droids are a central part of the Star Wars universe, and C-3P0 and R2-D2 have been named as two of the most famous and beloved robots in all of popular culture.

Outside of science fiction and real-life robots, droid is also used to refer to a mindless, automaton-like individual, similar to the word drone.

More examples of droid:

“When “The Rise of Skywalker” premieres this week, we’ll meet another droid: D-O. He’s made of spare droid parts, looks a bit like a rolling hairdryer, and by all accounts, becomes buddies with BB-8.”
—Ashley Strickland, CNN, December 2019

Example sentences from the Web for droid