Definition of automatic in English:

automatic

adjective

  • 1(of a device or process) working by itself with little or no direct human control.

    ‘an automatic kettle that switches itself off when it boils’
    ‘calibration is fully automatic’
    • ‘Now incorporating automatic light beam control, the car will automatically activate its lights when it becomes dark.’
    • ‘The mission computer carries out automatic control, stabilisation and guidance of the helicopter to the mission areas to attack targets.’
    • ‘It is conducted so as to consume gas only when water is drawn, and by an automatic arrangement it lights its own gas as soon as the hot water is turned on and extinguishes as soon as the water is turned off.’
    • ‘The actual operation of the machine is automatic and is controlled by a sequence controller which can be set according to the weld schedule established for the parts to be joined.’
    • ‘The multi-storey car park will be fitted with electronic gates, automatic lighting and CCTV to improve safety.’
    • ‘The operating light should be equipped with an automatic switch to the emergency power source when the usual power fails.’
    • ‘Many renovated and new restrooms are including automatic sensors to control faucets and toilets.’
    • ‘That was prevented by an automatic parachute arrangement which came into instantaneous operation.’
    • ‘Whereas structurally the two are similar, the camera lacks the intricate automatic control mechanism involved in vision.’
    • ‘If automatic valves are used, they should be controlled from a central location and be easy to override with manual controls.’
    • ‘In piloted spacecraft, guidance control is usually an automatic process - that is, controlled by the ground-based support crew.’
    • ‘A mechanical arm turns pages every couple of seconds while an automatic machine translator wired to this device bangs out English text.’
    • ‘This can be set as an automatic process, or you can do it manually.’
    • ‘The calibration process is completely automatic.’
    • ‘Previously it was up to the police to deal with such misdemeanours but now contractor-operated automatic cameras are being entrusted with the job.’
    • ‘In many cases there are also requirements to integrate the system with elevator control, automatic door control and parking gate systems.’
    • ‘The door we escaped through had an automatic lock but we didn't know that.’
    • ‘Before these automatic devices catch on with a general audience, they'll have to be affordable, effective, and easy to use.’
    • ‘This is achieved initially by means of a manual winch but eventually through a computer-controlled automatic mechanism.’
    • ‘A fully electric mechanism is used for opening and closing the roof, and all the driver has to do is set the handbrake and press a button - the entire process is fully automatic.’
    • ‘The pipelines are controlled by computer systems, linked to sensors and automatic valves to manage the speed of flow.’
    mechanized, mechanical, automated, push-button, preprogrammed, computerized, electronic, robotic, unmanned
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    1. 1.1 (of a firearm) self-loading and able to fire continuously until the ammunition is exhausted or the pressure on the trigger is released.
      ‘automatic weapons’
      • ‘He and his girlfriend were both shot at close range by the same automatic pistol with 9mm ammunition.’
      • ‘A rifle and two automatic firearms were confiscated.’
      • ‘Police used water cannon and fired automatic weapons into the air to drive the protesters back onto the campus then surrounded a university building that students had occupied.’
      • ‘The front gate had two soldiers wielding automatic firearms guarding the outside.’
      • ‘She held a dull black automatic handgun, aiming it at the tall man with quivering hands.’
      • ‘He replied, slamming a new magazine into the automatic handgun he was holding.’
      • ‘Gun magazines made vague references to automatic machines with ‘computer tape’ guidance.’
      • ‘He said the rebels, armed with automatic rifles and machetes, went on a shooting rampage, apparently to intimidate the villagers.’
      • ‘Even for the regular troops, single shots are now favored over emptying a 30 round magazine with fully automatic fire.’
      • ‘The only hint of fear in the company was the presence of two tall gorilla bodyguards clasping small automatic fire-arms, who glared at us suspiciously as we approached, but made no attempt to stop us.’
      • ‘He was an enormous man, capable of firing an automatic rifle with only one hand or lifting me clear up off the ground.’
      • ‘The distant sound of automatic cannon fire could be heard, and then there was a tremendous explosion above them.’
      • ‘It sounded to me like an automatic rifle, firing about every second.’
      • ‘They have done some things to control the flow of automatic weapons into the hands of criminals and young people.’
      • ‘As regards weapon effects, they are distinct and varied, with each individual pistol, shotgun and automatic rifle having its own recognizable report.’
      • ‘Protesters dropped face-down in the streets, seeking cover amid sustained blasts of automatic rifle fire.’
      • ‘Police point out that the family, like all the other gangs in the city, now have access to a variety of firearms, including automatic guns.’
      • ‘We have come under automatic machine-gun fire.’
      • ‘He had tried to talk her into bringing an automatic firearm, as the assault would be a heavy one, but she was stubborn, and insisted that the knives would suit her fine.’
      • ‘Yet thousands of people refused to go home, even after soldiers opened fire with automatic rifles.’
    2. 1.2 (of a motor vehicle or its transmission) using gears that change by themselves according to speed and acceleration.
      ‘a four-speed automatic gearbox’
      • ‘A five speed automatic gearbox comes as standard.’
      • ‘For those who do not want to shift gear manually, an automatic gearbox is available, instead of the manual six-speed gearbox.’
      • ‘A motorist left a trail of destruction after accidentally speeding off in reverse while showing her automatic car to a prospective buyer.’
      • ‘This car is fun to drive on twisting country roads, thanks to a well-programmed 6 speed automatic gearbox with a tiptronic option.’
      • ‘This model has four speed fully automatic transmission and hydrostatic drive steering.’
      • ‘The engine is combined with a new 6-speed automatic gearbox which gives excellent quality gear changes.’
      • ‘The transmissions are fully automatic and have modulated gear shifting.’
      • ‘It is rather like passing your driving test in an automatic car, then proceeding on to the motorway and finding that you must operate a gearbox.’
      • ‘Now why does a supercar have an automatic gearbox?’
      • ‘These engines are mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic transmission.’
      • ‘The five speed automatic gear box produces a smooth, very positive firm ride and will deliver a blast of energy at the slightest increase in pressure on the accelerator.’
      • ‘A special sensor constantly monitors the roll angle of the car and is integrated into the control electronics of the automatic transmission system to provide additional driving comfort.’
      • ‘A five speed automatic transmission is optional on both models.’
      • ‘All have a 6 speed automatic gearbox, which is truly excellent in use.’
      • ‘The automatic gearbox has six forward and one reverse gear.’
      • ‘The engine is combined with one of the best 5 speed automatic gearboxes available anywhere.’
      • ‘Most automatic transmission cars will have an overdrive button right on the gearshift.’
      • ‘Shift speed is also improved on vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions.’
      • ‘The second-generation four-speed automatic transmission is controlled from a lever set into the dashboard.’
      • ‘The engine software has been adjusted for emissions calibration and to interface with the automatic transmission.’
  • 2Done or occurring spontaneously, without conscious thought or attention.

    ‘automatic physical functions such as breathing’
    ‘‘Nice to meet you,’ he said, with automatic politeness’
    • ‘A lot of that activity will be done on a completely automatic pre-conscious level.’
    • ‘A state could not have an automatic preference for a male administrator, the court ruled.’
    • ‘The pack felt the automatic instinct to follow.’
    • ‘The problem comes when a swimmer or diver manipulates the brain's automatic breathing control device through hyperventilation.’
    • ‘Thinking, memory and attitude operate on two levels: the conscious/deliberate and the unconscious / automatic.’
    • ‘In developing cognitive models, one of the most basic questions concerns the nature and organization of automatic thoughts or cognitions.’
    • ‘Breathing in and out has been treated as an automatic process, which it seems to be, yet breathing is something that we can consciously take control of for different reasons.’
    • ‘Finally, termination is present when the new behavior has become rather automatic and requires no conscious effort.’
    • ‘Though these techniques may feel awkward initially, with practice they can become almost automatic.’
    • ‘It's like a Pavlovian reflex, an automatic reaction.’
    • ‘In these cases, the response to an unconscious stimulus is automatic, and thus faster than any response in which conscious perception mediates the response.’
    • ‘These tactics work very well on the job, but their usage becomes automatic and unconscious, causing problems in private life.’
    • ‘But anyone can take some degree of control over these seemingly automatic functions.’
    • ‘It's an experience you really hope your children will never ever have, that they'll never have cause to notice the automatic process of respiration.’
    • ‘But writing it is some kind of automatic process, a direct link among emotion, brain, and typing fingers.’
    • ‘This published work is best known for laying out formal theories delineating the different roles of automatic and attentive processing.’
    • ‘While breathing is an automatic process, it can be improved through regular practice.’
    • ‘He's also thinking about interventions that might help reduce these men's automatic stress responses.’
    • ‘For them, the golf swing becomes an automatic process.’
    • ‘In fact, this study does not even test whether jealousy is automatic or not.’
    • ‘Sometimes, these beliefs are so quick and reflexive that they're automatic, but they still shape our behavior.’
    • ‘One can ultimately become aware of feeling this emotion, but the initial processes that lead to it are subconscious and automatic.’
    • ‘There is plenty of evidence that we are routinely guided or influenced by automatic or unconscious mental processes, and that these processes can serve us well.’
    instinctive, involuntary, unconscious, reflex, knee-jerk, reflexive, instinctual, subconscious, unconditioned
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    1. 2.1 Done or occurring as a matter of course and without debate.
      ‘he is the automatic choice for the senior team’
      • ‘When organisers and sponsors want someone to visit a hospital or sick children, she is automatic first choice.’
      • ‘He should be an automatic choice for Saturday's replay if he can prove his fitness.’
      • ‘The rules concerning the selection of the Young Player of the Year award meant that he was the automatic choice.’
      • ‘Of course, in the kingdom of the dull, the mildly interesting man is an automatic choice for king.’
      • ‘None of the five potential forwards has stepped up and made himself an automatic choice for the first team.’
      • ‘The Senator was an automatic choice following his exceptional performance in the by-election last June.’
      • ‘But, yes, I have been disappointed not to have been an automatic choice.’
      • ‘In his classes, students get an automatic F if they plagiarize - often enough to make them fail the course.’
      • ‘He was the automatic choice for the Chief Minister's post once more.’
      • ‘The other side of the coin is that he has had to leave out players who were once automatic choices, and it's not a task he enjoys.’
      • ‘After all, Nelson Mandela was the automatic choice as president to begin with.’
      • ‘This does not necessarily imply automatic acceptance by the tribunal of the reason put forward by the employer if there are grounds to think that it was not the real cause.’
      • ‘‘Only five or six of the team who were playing in that first game are now automatic first choices,’ he said.’
      • ‘Gaining membership should not be automatic for anyone who completes an application form.’
      • ‘If this player was always an automatic choice, the omission of some members of the victorious Scottish team in the European Team Championships has raised a few eyebrows.’
      • ‘There is little doubt that both players were almost automatic choices but the same cannot be said for the other thirteen positions.’
      • ‘At 34 he is one of the oldest members of the team and no longer an automatic choice for the event in which he holds the Olympic record.’
      • ‘They would have been automatic first team choices, but instead they remain sidelined for the remainder of the year as they recover from their respective injuries.’
      machine-like, unthinking, unemotional, unconscious, involuntary, instinctive, routine, matter-of-fact, habitual, inattentive
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    2. 2.2 (especially of a legal sanction) given or imposed as a necessary and inevitable result of a fixed rule or particular set of circumstances.
      ‘he received an automatic one-match suspension’
      • ‘As a consequence he is liable to automatic life imprisonment unless there are exceptional circumstances.’
      • ‘Failure to produce a licence when stopped by the police will result in the automatic punishment of one penalty point.’
      • ‘And if a physician fails to disclose information, that may be automatic grounds for having one's license revoked.’
      • ‘Reported incidents should be taken at the umpire's word, and should carry automatic penalties, for which the tribunal should only be an appeals body.’
      • ‘In addition to substantial fines, each carrier is now subject to binding deployment schedules with automatic penalties if they fail to comply again.’
      • ‘It directed that a psychologist's lack of medical training could not, in and of itself, be used to justify an automatic disqualification of psychological testimony.’
      • ‘If your return has not been received by 31 January, there is an automatic penalty of £100.’
      • ‘Had he been the decision-maker, this would have resulted in his automatic disqualification regardless of the particular circumstances.’
      • ‘In our judgment, where a defendant is at risk of being subject to an automatic life sentence, that fact should be properly determined.’
      • ‘The rule currently imposes an automatic ban on older cattle from entering the human food chain.’
      • ‘This weekend is the last chance for millions of taxpayers to submit their tax returns or avoid automatic penalties from the taxman.’
      • ‘These sections refer to automatic life sentences and minimum fixed term sentences.’
      • ‘Many European countries impose automatic relegation on clubs who cannot provide financial guarantees.’
      • ‘He or she is compelled to make an application to resist or to avoid automatic suspension under the rule.’
      • ‘Inclusion would have incurred automatic sanctions.’
      • ‘Missing a test should be a mistake that comes with an automatic penalty before the specifics of the case are even looked into.’
      • ‘The President would not be required to impose automatic sanctions but would have a waiver power.’
      • ‘Any country that seeks to escape this strict system of controls should be subject to automatic UN sanctions.’
      • ‘Don't forget taking the wrong course leads to automatic disqualification for the horse and bookmakers will simply not pay out even if the disqualified horse wins by a furlong.’
      • ‘There are very real and automatic penalties if you break the law.’
      • ‘He will not be entitled to automatic release until May, on the expiry of 30 years of the sentence.’
      inevitable, unavoidable, inescapable, unpreventable, necessary, ineluctable
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noun

  • 1A gun that continues firing until the ammunition is exhausted or the pressure on the trigger is released.

    ‘the rapid fire of automatics’
    • ‘The incessant firings from cannons, mortars, tanks, machine-guns and automatics continue throughout the night.’
    • ‘We test assault rifles, machine guns, semi-automatics, automatics, and three-round bursts weapons.’
    • ‘Model types range from concealable automatics to multifunctional sheath knives.’
    • ‘Make the manufacture of handguns, automatics and certain semiautomatics and their corresponding ammunition illegal.’
    • ‘But when the automatics opened up on them, she panicked, struggled free and ran for the house, only to fall with a shrill cry a couple of meters away.’
    • ‘It became the best-known automatic or ‘assault rifle’ in the world.’
    • ‘Pistols, automatics, hunting rifles, arrows, a crossbow, a scimitar, a broadsword and a Japanese katana were some of the items.’
    • ‘These are all spring operated automatics, so check your local laws and ordinances before buying one.’
    • ‘She reached for her 9mm automatic underneath her pillow.’
    • ‘I might couple it with a small automatic pistol for cheap practice and to learn how automatics operate.’
    • ‘Even with the selector switch on semi auto, I was still firing just as fast as an automatic.’
    • ‘Inside was a nice arsenal of guns, automatics, semi-automatics, shot guns, pistols, clips, magazines and grenades.’
    • ‘Gangs of the underworld approach, automatics blazing, but they can do little to stop the man.’
    • ‘He was successful in silencing at least one of the enemy automatics.’
    • ‘It began with a new kind of shooting, not pop guns or automatics, but the long, ratcheting bursts of a machine gun, very close, from the other side of the compound.’
    • ‘They were relieved, until they heard the sound of several automatics going off.’
  • 2A vehicle with automatic transmission.

    ‘a Mercedes 300SL five-speed automatic’
    • ‘I really don't like automatics - stick-shift comes naturally to me.’
    • ‘Its auto mode is good for a system of its type, but the pauses and surges will be hard to take for those used to the feel of regular automatics.’
    • ‘Six-speed automatics also provide the potential for greater refinement and performance because of closer gear ratio spacing.’
    • ‘Must they be required by law only to drive automatics?’
    • ‘It meant that I could drive both automatics and manuals.’
    • ‘One day, one day, they will be too old to drive it, they will want an automatic with airbags and ABS and cruise control.’
    • ‘He tells him he'll teach him to drive tomorrow, not a stick shift, just an automatic.’
    • ‘I learned how to drive on a stick, but my car's an automatic.’
    • ‘I prefer the control that manual gears give, and I've always had a bit of a problem with phantom-clutch foot when driving an automatic.’
    • ‘And, under normal driving conditions, put a full-blown automatic in the Drive position and you can forget about changing gear until you need to park or reverse.’
    • ‘I suppose the biggest change I should notice is the fact that I'm driving a manual car again rather than the automatics which I've had for the last 12 years.’
    • ‘The main difference is that the automatic will cycle back to first gear when you stop, unlike the manual, which, of course, means you do it yourself.’
    • ‘Am I right, yes or no, are manuals more efficient than automatics?’
    • ‘This system allows you to change gears like a manual car when you want to have some fun, but behaves like a regular automatic when you're in the mood to just take it easy.’
    • ‘Three variations are available, two with manual transmission, while the third is an automatic.’
    • ‘I peered down at the would-be dashboard and was amazed to see that this armoured beast was an automatic.’
    • ‘This allows drivers to use a tip shift system to select gears without a clutch or it can operate as a traditional automatic.’
    • ‘All the cars are automatics, which I know annoys a lot of gamers, but personally I am all right with that.’
    • ‘She did not mention to the car hire firm that she only drove automatics, and then drove the 250 kilometres in first gear all the way.’

Origin

Mid 18th century: from Greek automatos ‘acting of itself’ (see automaton) + -ic.

Pronunciation

automatic

/ɔːtəˈmatɪk/