Definition of automat in English:

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automat

Pronunciation: /ˈôdəˌmat/

noun

US historical
A cafeteria in which food and drink were obtained from vending machines.
Example sentences
  • When the detective in The Erasers eats lunch, it is in an automat where food is reduced to ‘cubes’ and ‘replicas.’
  • Fueled by the nickels of new legions of white collar workers and immigrants who could not speak English and therefore could not order at a restaurant, the automat prospered in the early 1900s and handily survived the Depression.
  • By the 1920s, some restaurants and automats were heavily populated with gay men, especially late at night, and a few places openly catered to them.

Origin

Late 17th century (denoting an automaton): from German, from French automate, from Latin automaton (see automaton). The current sense dates from the early 20th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: au·to·mat

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