One entry found for robot.
Main Entry: ro·bot
Pronunciation: primarystressromacr-secondarystressbät
Function: noun
Etymology: from Czech robot "a machine that looks like a human being and performs dull or dangerous work," from robota "forced labor, work"
1 a : a machine that looks and acts like a human being b : a capable but unfeeling person
2 : a device that automatically performs tasks that are complicated and often continuously repeated
- ro·bot·ic /romacr-primarystressbät-ik/ adjective
- ro·bot·i·cal·ly /-i-k(schwa-)lemacron/ adverb
Word History In 1923 a play by the Czech author Karel Capek introduced the word robot to English. The title of the play, R.U.R., stood for "Rossum's Universal Robots," a fictional company that manufactured robots. These humanlike machines were supposed to perform all the hard, dull, and dangerous work for people, but they finally became resentful and rebelled, killing all humans. Capek formed the word robot for his machines from the Czech robota, meaning "forced labor." The play was very popular and its ideas made a strong impression. As a result, the word robot came to have several meanings, including "a human being who has become brutal and insensitive or machinelike because of overwork and mistreatment." It is used today for machines that may not look human but do perform the kind of dangerous or dull work that Rossum's Universal Robots were supposed to have done.


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