(Greek: a suffix; pertaining to; of the nature of, like; in chemistry, it denotes a higher valence of the element than is expressed by -ous)
2. Produced by the activities of living organisms within a system and acting upon that system.
2. Self-regulating; for example, an automatic washing machine.
3. Acting or done without volition or conscious control; involuntary; spontaneous; for example, automatic shrinking of the pupils of the eyes in strong light.
4. Acting or done as if by machine; mechanical; such as, an automatic reply to a familiar question.
5. Capable of firing continuously until ammunition is exhausted or the trigger is released; as with, an automatic rifle.
6. Semiautomatic; an automatic pistol.
The words automatic pilot or automatic transmission bring to mind mechanical devices that operate with minimal human intervention. Yet the word automatic, which goes back to the Greek word automatos, “acting of one's own will, self-acting, of itself,” is made up of two parts, auto-, “self,” and -matos, “willing,” is first recorded in English in 1748 with reference to motions of the body; such as, the peristaltic action of the intestines: “The Motions are called automatic from their Resemblance to the Motions of Automata, or Machines, whose Principle of Motion is within themselves.”
Although the writer had machines in mind, automatic could be used as a reference to living things, a use we still have. The association of automatic chiefly with machinery may represent one instance of many in which we have come to see the world in mechanical terms.
2. A reference to any organism for which environmental carbon dioxide is the only or main source of carbon in the synthesis of organic compounds by photosynthesis.