an intelligent artificial being typically made of metal and resembling in some way a human or other animal
Originally with reference to the mass-produced workers in Karel Čapek’s play R.U.R.: Rossum's Universal Robots (1920) which are assembled from artificially synthesized organic material.
[< Czech robot (1920 in R.U.R.: Rossum’s Universal Robots, a play by Karel Čapek (1890–1938), Czech author) < robota forced labour, drudgery.
According to Karel Čapek, the word was suggested to him by his brother Josef (1887–1945) as an alternative to his original intention of coining a word ultimately < classical Latin labor ‘work; labor’.]
Robots were by all means better for use in factories and in armies, making cheap labor material, and not causing any troubles as strikers.
You see…the Robots have no interest in life. They have no enjoyments.
‘Marse Nick,’ he demanded, ‘is dey real men or does dey go by machinery?’ ‘Blessed if I know, Jake… You'd best ask Mister Jeremy.’ ‘Sort of Robots I’d say, Nick. But it’s a puzzle we shall have to solve later,’ said Jeremy.
Kid, what are you doing at the shop at midnight? Think you are a robot secretary, or something?… Ought to be home in bed, kid.
I am a robot. A metal man with a brain of sponge iridium. I have gears and wheels and I run on a battery. True enough. But I have the mind of a man!
The tank was, of course, a kind of super-robot and was now out of action as far as driving itself went.
The ship carried two pilots, a navigator, a doctor, fifty babies, twenty-five special humanoid robots, computers, and supplies.
He knew a robot was only a tool to be used by men. But the big question was—who was using who?
[‘]Good evening, gentlemen’, the robot said…. The robot was a Robert Redford–Lee Majors physiog combo, and sported a slightly toned-down Schwartzenagger [sic] body.
In Short Circuit a combat robot achieves sentience and is a good guy, here a combat robot goes out of control, killing everything it sees, and is shut down.
I sat across from him and let him see a small smile, and the robot asked about my life of late, and I shrugged without commitment.
You want anything else? A robot to massage your feet three times a day? A new Porsche?
New York Times
OED entry revised in June 2010, with an earliest citation of 1922
Last modified 2020-12-27 10:23:44
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.