Definition of robot in US English:



  • 1(especially in science fiction) a machine resembling a human being and able to replicate certain human movements and functions automatically.

    ‘the robot closed the door behind us’
    ‘a sci-fi movie about time-traveling killer robots’
    • ‘Thirty-one years from now, in 2035, there is one robot for every five human beings.’
    • ‘In the play, the robots, having acquired human emotions, rebel against their servile status and destroy their masters.’
    • ‘As we discover near the film's conclusion, he has apparently developed an ability to create the robots based on pre-existing human forms.’
    • ‘Somewhere along the line, he stopped fighting for the robots and tried to protect the humans from them.’
    • ‘He has suggested that robots with artificial intelligence will gain consciousness, supercede human intelligence, and ultimately become autonomous.’
    • ‘It's something that robotics types call the Uncanny Valley, when a robot crosses over from seeming machinelike but hasn't yet achieved true human qualities.’
    • ‘The new NS 5 Automated Domestic Assistant carries out all your household chores, and robots also collect garbage, deliver packages, walk dogs.’
    • ‘In this movie, the kids use their knowledge of the human skeleton, joints, and muscles to build a robot.’
    • ‘Whether such a robot could sustain for years the complex of attitudes and behaviors constitutive of a parent's love for a child is difficult to say.’
    • ‘Some of the best science fiction is not necessarily about robots and giant monsters - although I love those too.’
    • ‘Mike was happy to demonstrate a 4-foot robot made of mostly car parts that wailed its arms when controlled by remote.’
    • ‘They also meet and fight Hakaider, an android that looks more robot than human with his exposed brainpan.’
    • ‘When a scientist is murdered, apparently by a robot, detective Del Spooner, is asked to investigate, even though such a crime would violate the Laws of Robotics, which state that a robot can never harm a human being.’
    • ‘The film was very funny, with a young punk kid teaching an emotionless robot how to be more human, creating many funny and moving moments.’
    • ‘Even if a robot can love humans, can humans learn to love them back?’
    • ‘We will see a time where humans and robots coexist without complicated interpersonal family issues or blind machine prejudice.’
    • ‘The robots are chunky mechanized human figures of the sort that have long delighted little children on both sides of the Pacific.’
    • ‘The stunts are staged to increase the spectacle, so that when cars pile into each other or toy robots battle, there is an intricate detail and near artistic quality.’
    • ‘A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders conflict with the first law.’
    • ‘We still need men to hunker down inside the killing machines, still dream of the day robots will do our bidding so we never need to bloody our hands.’
    automaton, android, machine, golem
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer.
      ‘half of all American robots are making cars or trucks’
      as modifier ‘a robot arm’
      • ‘However I called Julie the AMTRAK Robot and learned that Train 97 was running about 47 minutes late.’
      • ‘In constructing the mobile robots to explore Mars' surface, the program involves a curriculum unit and a contest.’
      • ‘He quickly loaded it, associating the robot arm controller object with the program.’
      • ‘This robot should be able to go 40 or 50 kilometers, and really determine if there's life on Mars and what kind of life there really is.’
      • ‘They are using a robot named SAM in some cities in the States to lay fiber-optic cables underground.’
      • ‘For adults, it seems like robot vacuums and iPods are getting a lot of play.’
      • ‘On her first flight Chawla was responsible for operating the shuttle's robot arm.’
      • ‘Now that robots and computer simulations are replacing bench science, architects are giving researchers new laboratory environments that facilitate the exchange of ideas and bring together experts of many disciplines.’
      • ‘Science and design also are brought together with interactive robots and large-scale computer graphics.’
      • ‘The body shop uses programmable robots with fixed tooling.’
      • ‘Another robot grabs and places a wooden pallet, then lays down a cardboard slip sheet before stacking cases two at a time for a total of 40 on each pallet, which are then stretchwrapped.’
      automaton, android, machine, golem
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A person who behaves in a mechanical or unemotional manner.
      ‘public servants are not expected to be mindless robots’
      • ‘Movies are not computers, and we're not robots, though the industry likes to think that.’
      • ‘The lead character changed physically, reinforcing his point that no matter what physical changes we can undergo we're all just genetically programmed robots here.’
      • ‘People cannot do that unless they're living in a dictatorship and want to be dictated to behave like robots.’
  • 2Computing

    another term for crawler
    • ‘What's good for the visitor is often good for the search engine robots.’
    • ‘Search engine robots are automated programs that traverse the web, indexing page content and following links.’


1920s: from Czech, from robota ‘forced labor’. The term was coined in K. Čapek's play R.U.R ‘Rossum's Universal Robots’ (1920).