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having the capability of starting, operating, moving, etc., independently:
an automatic sprinkler system; an automatic car wash.
Physiology. occurring independently of volition, as certain muscular actions; involuntary.
done unconsciously or from force of habit; mechanical:
an automatic application of the brakes.
occurring spontaneously:
automatic enthusiasm.
(of a firearm, pistol, etc.) utilizing the recoil or part of the force of the explosive to eject the spent cartridge shell, introduce a new cartridge, cock the arm, and fire it repeatedly.
a machine that operates automatically.
automatic rifle.
automatic pistol.
Football. audible (def 2).
automatic pilot.
automatic transmission.
an automobile equipped with automatic transmission.
on automatic, being operated or controlled by or as if by an automatic device.
Contemporary Examples

A little girl was given an automatic weapon to play with this week.
9-Year Old With an Uzi? America Is Tougher on Toys Than Guns Cliff Schecter August 27, 2014

We feel like automatic loyalty has cost us—one Clinton is just like the last Clinton; one Bush is just like the next Bush.
Rand Paul Is No Ron Paul—So Who Will Inherit the Paul Army? David Freedlander July 9, 2013

By paying attention to the things that make driving less fuel efficient, the automatic Link has helped me save some money on fuel.
Testing Automatic Link, the FitBit for Your Car Jamie Todd Rubin July 7, 2014

At the same time, automatic cuts that will affect defense contractors and other industries dependent on government will kick in.
Corporate America and the Fiscal Cliff: CEOs Woo Obama Daniel Gross November 13, 2012

Any entries attempted through the use of agencies or robotic, repetitive, automatic, programmed, or similar methods will be void.
Official Rules For The “Lexus Thursday” Sweepstakes Daily Beast Promotions September 8, 2010

Historical Examples

It has a longer barrel than any other automatic pistol and is fitted with adjustable sights.
Pistol and Revolver Shooting A. L. A. Himmelwright

Wheatstone was knighted in 1868, after his completion of the automatic telegraph.
Heroes of the Telegraph J. Munro

Still the Government hung on, backed in sullen submission by its automatic majority.
The Secret of the League Ernest Bramah

At last, with a shake of the head, we consented to get into the automatic carriage.
Freeland Theodor Hertzka

The lady in the car bent her head, and Borrowdean performed an automatic salute.
A Lost Leader E. Phillips Oppenheim

performed from force of habit or without conscious thought; lacking spontaneity; mechanical: an automatic smile

(of a device, mechanism, etc) able to activate, move, or regulate itself
(of an act or process) performed by such automatic equipment

(of the action of a muscle, gland, etc) involuntary or reflex
occurring as a necessary consequence: promotion is automatic after a year
(of a firearm)

utilizing some of the force of or gas from each explosion to eject the empty shell case, replace it with a new one, and fire continuously until release of the trigger Compare semiautomatic (sense 2)
short for semiautomatic (sense 2) See also machine (sense 5)

an automatic firearm
a motor vehicle having automatic transmission
a machine that operates automatically

“self-acting, moving or acting on its own,” 1812, from Greek automatos, used of the gates of Olympus and the tripods of Hephaestus (also “without apparent cause, by accident”), from autos “self” (see auto-) + matos “thinking, animated” (see automaton). Of involuntary animal or human actions, from 1748, first used in this sense by English physician and philosopher David Hartley (1705-1757). In reference to a type of firearm, from 1877; specifically of machinery that imitates human-directed action from 1940.

“automatic weapon,” 1902, from automatic (adj.). Meaning “motorized vehicle with automatic transmission” is from 1949.


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