a. Acting or operating in a manner essentially independent of external influence or control: an automatic light switch; a budget deficit that triggered automatic spending cuts.
b. Self-regulating: an automatic washing machine.
a. Acting or done without volition or conscious control; involuntary: automatic shrinking of the pupils of the eyes in strong light.
b. Acting or done as if by machine; mechanical: an automatic reply to a familiar question.
a. Capable of firing continuously until ammunition is exhausted or the trigger is released: an automatic rifle.
b. Semiautomatic: an automatic pistol.
1. An automatic machine or device.
a. An automatic firearm.
b. A semiautomatic firearm.
3. A transmission or a motor vehicle with an automatic gear-shifting mechanism.
4. Football See audible.
Functioning by or as if by automatic machine or device.
[From Greek automatos : auto-, auto- + -matos, willing; see men-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
au′to·ma·tici·ty (-mə-tĭsĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.