on automatic pilot

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on automatic pilot

Automatically, without thinking about one's actions, generally because one has done something many times in the past. Also used in the shortened form, "on autopilot." By the second week of data entry, I could fill in the spreadsheets on automatic pilot. Making bottles, changing diapers, and putting the baby to sleep were all challenging at first, but now I feel like I'm doing it all on automatic pilot. Sometimes I arrive at work without remembering how I got there, like I was on automatic pilot the whole time.
See also: automatic, on, pilot

on automatic pilot

or

on autopilot

COMMON If you are on automatic pilot or on autopilot, you are acting without thinking about what you are doing, usually because you have done it many times before or because you are very tired. Note: `Autopilot' is often written as `auto-pilot' in British English. Steve seemed to be on automatic pilot and able to go on driving without apparent fatigue. Note: You can also say that you go on to automatic pilot or on to autopilot if you start acting in this way. When the kids came home I just switched on to autopilot, making the tea, listening to them fight. Note: In aircraft, automatic pilot is a device which automatically keeps the plane on course without the need for the pilot to do much.
See also: automatic, on, pilot
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