automatic

If someone asks, “How are you?” and you reply, “Fine,” without really thinking about it, that’s an automatic reply. Something that’s automatic is done without thinking, almost as if you’re a well-programmed machine.

The word automatic can be used to describe a machine that works on its own, performing its tasks with little or no human intervention, such as an automatic transmission on a car. Or, automatic can describe a person whose actions are like a machine's. If you flash a smile every time someone walks through the door, it’s an automatic smile, a natural reaction you didn't think about or plan in advance.

Primary Meanings of automatic

1.
adj
operating with minimal human intervention; independent of external control
2.
n
a pistol that will keep firing until the ammunition is gone or the trigger is released
Full Definitions of automatic
1

adj operating with minimal human intervention; independent of external control

automatic transmission”
“a budget deficit that caused automatic spending cuts”
Synonyms:
autoloading, self-loading, semiautomatic
(of firearms) capable of automatic loading and firing continuously
automated, machine-controlled, machine-driven
operated by automation
self-acting, self-activating, self-moving, self-regulating
designed to activate or move or regulate itself
self-locking
locking automatically when closed
self-winding
designed so that manual winding is unnecessary
semiautomatic
partially automatic
smart
capable of independent and apparently intelligent action
mechanical
using (or as if using) mechanisms or tools or devices
Antonyms:
manual
requiring human effort
hand-operated, non-automatic
operated by hand
show more antonyms...

adj without volition or conscious control

“the automatic shrinking of the pupils of the eye in strong light”
Synonyms:
reflex, reflexive
involuntary
controlled by the autonomic nervous system; without conscious control

adj resembling the unthinking functioning of a machine

“an automatic `thank you'”
Synonyms:
automatonlike, machinelike, robotic, robotlike
mechanical
using (or as if using) mechanisms or tools or devices
2

n a pistol that will keep firing until the ammunition is gone or the trigger is released

Synonyms:
automatic pistol
Type of:
automatic firearm, automatic gun, automatic weapon
a firearm that reloads itself and keeps firing until the trigger is released
handgun, pistol, shooting iron, side arm
a firearm that is held and fired with one hand

n light machine gun

Synonyms:
automatic rifle, machine rifle
Types:
assault gun, assault rifle
any of the automatic rifles or semiautomatic rifles with large magazines designed for military use
BAR, Browning automatic rifle
a portable .30 caliber automatic rifle operated by gas pressure and fed by cartridges from a magazine; used by United States troops in World War I and in World War II and in the Korean War
Type of:
automatic firearm, automatic gun, automatic weapon
a firearm that reloads itself and keeps firing until the trigger is released
machine gun
a rapidly firing automatic gun (often mounted)

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.