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Word of the Day
Monday, June 03, 2013

Definitions for automaton

  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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Citations for automaton
That this is so is evident from the fact that some apprentices as early as their thirteenth year are able to construct an automaton whose motions are anatomically flawless. Steven Millhauser, "The New Automaton Theater," The Knife Thrower: and Other Stories, 1998
"You really are an automaton — a calculating machine," I cried. "There is something positively inhuman in you at times." He smiled gently. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four, 1890
Origin of automaton
1605-1615
Automaton comes from the Greek autos + matos, literally meaning "self thinking." It entered English in the 1600s.