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’
    • ‘The multi-storey car park will be fitted with electronic gates, automatic lighting and CCTV to improve safety.’
    • ‘The door we escaped through had an automatic lock but we didn't know that.’
    • ‘The pipelines are controlled by computer systems, linked to sensors and automatic valves to manage the speed of flow.’
    • ‘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 operating light should be equipped with an automatic switch to the emergency power source when the usual power fails.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is achieved initially by means of a manual winch but eventually through a computer-controlled automatic mechanism.’
    • ‘Now incorporating automatic light beam control, the car will automatically activate its lights when it becomes dark.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Before these automatic devices catch on with a general audience, they'll have to be affordable, effective, and easy to use.’
    • ‘The calibration process is completely automatic.’
    • ‘In piloted spacecraft, guidance control is usually an automatic process - that is, controlled by the ground-based support crew.’
    • ‘If automatic valves are used, they should be controlled from a central location and be easy to override with manual controls.’
    • ‘That was prevented by an automatic parachute arrangement which came into instantaneous operation.’
    • ‘This can be set as an automatic process, or you can do it manually.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many renovated and new restrooms are including automatic sensors to control faucets and toilets.’
    • ‘A mechanical arm turns pages every couple of seconds while an automatic machine translator wired to this device bangs out English text.’
    • ‘The mission computer carries out automatic control, stabilisation and guidance of the helicopter to the mission areas to attack targets.’
    • ‘Whereas structurally the two are similar, the camera lacks the intricate automatic control mechanism involved in vision.’
    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’
      • ‘The front gate had two soldiers wielding automatic firearms guarding the outside.’
      • ‘He said the rebels, armed with automatic rifles and machetes, went on a shooting rampage, apparently to intimidate the villagers.’
      • ‘Gun magazines made vague references to automatic machines with ‘computer tape’ guidance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As regards weapon effects, they are distinct and varied, with each individual pistol, shotgun and automatic rifle having its own recognizable report.’
      • ‘He was an enormous man, capable of firing an automatic rifle with only one hand or lifting me clear up off the ground.’
      • ‘Yet thousands of people refused to go home, even after soldiers opened fire with automatic rifles.’
      • ‘She held a dull black automatic handgun, aiming it at the tall man with quivering hands.’
      • ‘They have done some things to control the flow of automatic weapons into the hands of criminals and young people.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even for the regular troops, single shots are now favored over emptying a 30 round magazine with fully automatic fire.’
      • ‘He and his girlfriend were both shot at close range by the same automatic pistol with 9mm ammunition.’
      • ‘We have come under automatic machine-gun fire.’
      • ‘The distant sound of automatic cannon fire could be heard, and then there was a tremendous explosion above them.’
      • ‘He replied, slamming a new magazine into the automatic handgun he was holding.’
      • ‘Protesters dropped face-down in the streets, seeking cover amid sustained blasts of automatic rifle 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.’
      • ‘It sounded to me like an automatic rifle, firing about every second.’
      • ‘A rifle and two automatic firearms were confiscated.’
    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’
      • ‘The transmissions are fully automatic and have modulated gear shifting.’
      • ‘For those who do not want to shift gear manually, an automatic gearbox is available, instead of the manual six-speed gearbox.’
      • ‘A five speed automatic gearbox comes as standard.’
      • ‘The engine software has been adjusted for emissions calibration and to interface with the automatic transmission.’
      • ‘The second-generation four-speed automatic transmission is controlled from a lever set into the dashboard.’
      • ‘The engine is combined with one of the best 5 speed automatic gearboxes available anywhere.’
      • ‘A five speed automatic transmission is optional on both models.’
      • ‘The automatic gearbox has six forward and one reverse gear.’
      • ‘This model has four speed fully automatic transmission and hydrostatic drive steering.’
      • ‘All have a 6 speed automatic gearbox, which is truly excellent in use.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘These engines are mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic transmission.’
      • ‘Now why does a supercar have an automatic gearbox?’
      • ‘This car is fun to drive on twisting country roads, thanks to a well-programmed 6 speed automatic gearbox with a tiptronic option.’
      • ‘The engine is combined with a new 6-speed automatic gearbox which gives excellent quality gear changes.’
      • ‘Most automatic transmission cars will have an overdrive button right on the gearshift.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Shift speed is also improved on vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions.’
      • ‘A motorist left a trail of destruction after accidentally speeding off in reverse while showing her automatic car to a prospective buyer.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2Done or occurring spontaneously, without conscious thought or attention.

    ‘automatic physical functions such as breathing’
    ‘‘Nice to meet you,’ he said, with automatic politeness’
    • ‘But writing it is some kind of automatic process, a direct link among emotion, brain, and typing fingers.’
    • ‘In these cases, the response to an unconscious stimulus is automatic, and thus faster than any response in which conscious perception mediates the response.’
    • ‘A state could not have an automatic preference for a male administrator, the court ruled.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The problem comes when a swimmer or diver manipulates the brain's automatic breathing control device through hyperventilation.’
    • ‘The pack felt the automatic instinct to follow.’
    • ‘While breathing is an automatic process, it can be improved through regular practice.’
    • ‘For them, the golf swing becomes an automatic process.’
    • ‘A lot of that activity will be done on a completely automatic pre-conscious level.’
    • ‘Though these techniques may feel awkward initially, with practice they can become almost automatic.’
    • ‘These tactics work very well on the job, but their usage becomes automatic and unconscious, causing problems in private life.’
    • ‘He's also thinking about interventions that might help reduce these men's automatic stress responses.’
    • ‘Thinking, memory and attitude operate on two levels: the conscious/deliberate and the unconscious / automatic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But anyone can take some degree of control over these seemingly automatic functions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One can ultimately become aware of feeling this emotion, but the initial processes that lead to it are subconscious and automatic.’
    • ‘In developing cognitive models, one of the most basic questions concerns the nature and organization of automatic thoughts or cognitions.’
    • ‘This published work is best known for laying out formal theories delineating the different roles of automatic and attentive processing.’
    • ‘Sometimes, these beliefs are so quick and reflexive that they're automatic, but they still shape our behavior.’
    • ‘It's like a Pavlovian reflex, an automatic reaction.’
    • ‘In fact, this study does not even test whether jealousy is automatic or not.’
    • ‘Finally, termination is present when the new behavior has become rather automatic and requires no conscious effort.’
    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’
      • ‘The rules concerning the selection of the Young Player of the Year award meant that he was the automatic choice.’
      • ‘None of the five potential forwards has stepped up and made himself an automatic choice for the first team.’
      • ‘When organisers and sponsors want someone to visit a hospital or sick children, she is automatic first choice.’
      • ‘But, yes, I have been disappointed not to have been an automatic choice.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He should be an automatic choice for Saturday's replay if he can prove his fitness.’
      • ‘In his classes, students get an automatic F if they plagiarize - often enough to make them fail the course.’
      • ‘‘Only five or six of the team who were playing in that first game are now automatic first choices,’ he said.’
      • ‘After all, Nelson Mandela was the automatic choice as president to begin with.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Of course, in the kingdom of the dull, the mildly interesting man is an automatic choice for king.’
      • ‘There is little doubt that both players were almost automatic choices but the same cannot be said for the other thirteen positions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Gaining membership should not be automatic for anyone who completes an application form.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was the automatic choice for the Chief Minister's post once more.’
      • ‘The Senator was an automatic choice following his exceptional performance in the by-election last June.’
      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’
      • ‘In our judgment, where a defendant is at risk of being subject to an automatic life sentence, that fact should be properly determined.’
      • ‘This weekend is the last chance for millions of taxpayers to submit their tax returns or avoid automatic penalties from the taxman.’
      • ‘He will not be entitled to automatic release until May, on the expiry of 30 years of the sentence.’
      • ‘Any country that seeks to escape this strict system of controls should be subject to automatic UN sanctions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Inclusion would have incurred automatic sanctions.’
      • ‘Had he been the decision-maker, this would have resulted in his automatic disqualification regardless of the particular circumstances.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The rule currently imposes an automatic ban on older cattle from entering the human food chain.’
      • ‘The President would not be required to impose automatic sanctions but would have a waiver power.’
      • ‘Missing a test should be a mistake that comes with an automatic penalty before the specifics of the case are even looked into.’
      • ‘There are very real and automatic penalties if you break the law.’
      • ‘If your return has not been received by 31 January, there is an automatic penalty of £100.’
      • ‘These sections refer to automatic life sentences and minimum fixed term sentences.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As a consequence he is liable to automatic life imprisonment unless there are exceptional circumstances.’
      • ‘In addition to substantial fines, each carrier is now subject to binding deployment schedules with automatic penalties if they fail to comply again.’
      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’
    • ‘They were relieved, until they heard the sound of several automatics going off.’
    • ‘Pistols, automatics, hunting rifles, arrows, a crossbow, a scimitar, a broadsword and a Japanese katana were some of the items.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These are all spring operated automatics, so check your local laws and ordinances before buying one.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was successful in silencing at least one of the enemy automatics.’
    • ‘She reached for her 9mm automatic underneath her pillow.’
    • ‘Even with the selector switch on semi auto, I was still firing just as fast as an automatic.’
    • ‘I might couple it with a small automatic pistol for cheap practice and to learn how automatics operate.’
    • ‘We test assault rifles, machine guns, semi-automatics, automatics, and three-round bursts weapons.’
    • ‘Inside was a nice arsenal of guns, automatics, semi-automatics, shot guns, pistols, clips, magazines and grenades.’
    • ‘The incessant firings from cannons, mortars, tanks, machine-guns and automatics continue throughout the night.’
    • ‘It became the best-known automatic or ‘assault rifle’ in the world.’
    • ‘Make the manufacture of handguns, automatics and certain semiautomatics and their corresponding ammunition illegal.’
    • ‘Model types range from concealable automatics to multifunctional sheath knives.’
    • ‘Gangs of the underworld approach, automatics blazing, but they can do little to stop the man.’
  • 2A vehicle with automatic transmission.

    ‘a Mercedes 300SL five-speed automatic’
    • ‘It meant that I could drive both automatics and manuals.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Am I right, yes or no, are manuals more efficient than automatics?’
    • ‘Six-speed automatics also provide the potential for greater refinement and performance because of closer gear ratio spacing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All the cars are automatics, which I know annoys a lot of gamers, but personally I am all right with that.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Three variations are available, two with manual transmission, while the third is an automatic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Must they be required by law only to drive automatics?’
    • ‘I learned how to drive on a stick, but my car's an automatic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This allows drivers to use a tip shift system to select gears without a clutch or it can operate as a traditional automatic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He tells him he'll teach him to drive tomorrow, not a stick shift, just an automatic.’
    • ‘I peered down at the would-be dashboard and was amazed to see that this armoured beast was an automatic.’
    • ‘One day, one day, they will be too old to drive it, they will want an automatic with airbags and ABS and cruise control.’
    • ‘I really don't like automatics - stick-shift comes naturally to me.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

automatic

/ɔːtəˈmatɪk/