Etymology
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handgun (n.)

mid-14c., of unmounted firearms, from hand (n.) + gun (n.). In modern use, "a pistol," from 1930s, American English.

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pistle (n.)

"a letter, a communication," Old English pistol, a shortening of epistol, from Latin epistola (see epistle). Compare postle from apostle.

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automat (n.)

"automated cafeteria," 1903, probably from automatic (adj.), though the system itself is said to have originated in Germany, and the word may be from German. Earlier it meant "an automaton" (1670s).

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thermostat (n.)

automatic instrument for regulating temperature, 1831, from thermo- + -stat.

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pom-pom (n.)

"Maxim automatic gun," 1899, of imitative origin, soldiers' slang from the Boer War. For the ornamental tuft, see pompom.

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automatically (adv.)

1834, "involuntarily, unconsciously," from automatical (see automatic (adj.)) + -ly (2).

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automated (adj.)

"done by automatic equipment," 1952, American English, adjective based on automation.

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firearm (n.)

also fire-arm, 1640s, from fire (n.) + arm (n.2). Anything which expels a missile by combustion of gunpowder (or a similar substance), from a pistol to a cannon. Related: Firearms.

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automate (v.)

"to convert to automatic operation," 1954, back-formation from automated (q.v.). The ancient Greek verb automatizein meant "to act of oneself, to act unadvisedly." Related: Automating.

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laundromat (n.)

"automatic coin-operated public laundry," 1946, originally (1942) a proprietary name by Westinghouse for a type of automatic washing machine; from laundry + ending probably suggested by automat. Earlier words for public clothes-washing places in U.S. were washateria (1935), laundrette (1945). Launderette is from 1947. The Westinghouse machine was popular after World War II and was available with coin chutes and timers.

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