I am currently reading a collection of (non-canon) stories in a book called Transformers: Legends. In one story Hound sees a Transformer at the bottom of a cliff, and he identifies it as a robot. From the text he knows it is not some basic human-made robot but a Transformer.

My question is not about the choice of word in the writing, as it will have been down to the author, but rather:

Do Transformers refer to themselves as "robots" ?

Putting aside "Robots in Disguise" and other taglines, do they ever call themselves robots? Would they? The word "robot", as we are constantly reminded in the film The World's End (Simon Pegg, great fun), means "slave" (and words relating to hard work).

Why would Transformers, on Earth, use the word to describe themselves when it would have negative connotations?

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    I don’t think it actually has negative connotations in common English use on earth. It’s from a word meaning “slave”, but I don’t think that occurs to most people when they use it. When I say “How could Michael Bay make such terrible movies from the awesome concept of giant robots fighting each other”, I don’t think of giant slaves. Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 11:04
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    I'm going to have to think/dig a little more, but in the live-action movie, Prime explains, "We are autonomous robotic organisms from the planet Cybertron." Not quite the same as calling themselves "robots", but it's the closest I can come up with off the top of my head.
    – phantom42
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 12:33
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    The term 'robot' is a human term. The Transformers have merely learned our language(s), and therefore refer to themselves in a manner which we can understand. If they were to say "we are a race of sajerht,nsa", we would be all like "whaaaa?".
    – Möoz
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 22:18

3 Answers 3


For the most part, Transformers refer to themselves as "robotic", but there are instances of them calling themselves "robots".

Transformers - Live Action Movies

The closest thing any of the Transformers come to using the word "robot" is the Optimus explaining

"We are autonomous robotic organisms from the planet Cybertron."

However, we also see Sentinel Prime comparing their situations.

Sentinel Prime: So lost you are, Optimus. On Cybertron we were gods, and here they call us machines! Let the humans serve us, or perish!

This is not concrete, but this indicates they see themselves as more than "machines", and ostensibly, "robots".

Generation 1 Cartoon

Seaspray refers to himself as a robot twice in the episode Sea Change.

From the transcript:


Oh, Seaspray, my friend... I did love you.


You did? Really?




I think so. Wait a minute.

There. How do you like that?

SEASPRAY turns into a HUMANOID much like the TLALOCONS.


Ohhh! Ouch!

SEASPRAY's feet, however, are still ROBOTIC, and are stepping on one of ALANA's feet.


Sorry. Guess I'm still part robot.


But I like you as a robot. I was afraid that someone with a body like mine wouldn't be your type.


Never! Wanna go for a swim?

A short time later...


It's Megatron! Let's go!


Seaspray, no! You're not a robot anymore!


Meahahahah! Bye, bye, fish-face!


It's no use; I can't fight them like this! I think it's time to go back to my old robot ways and give Megatron the surprise of his life!

In the episode The Key To Vector Sigma: Part 2, Skydive refers to Ratchet as a "robot". To be fair, most of the Aerialbots generally look down on the rest of the Autobots.

From a transcript


I say we're still better than any Autobot! Or human for that matter!


Think so, huh? Then follow me!


My power's gettin' low, buddy. I gotta recharge!


Go on, I'll finish this up.


The robot ran out of power...


...but the human's still working. Where does he get his energy?

Transformers: Prime

I found one quote where Bulkhead refers to the Autobots as "robots in disguise".

It occurs in the episode Loose Cannons.

I found a transcript, but it doesn't indicate specifically who is saying what, so I've edited based on my memory. I'll try and double-check this later tonight, but I'm pretty positive it's right. I know it's Bulkhead with the final quote as he's the only one who calls him "Jackie".

Optimus Prime: Any strike we make against the Decepticons must be carefully measured as a team, lest we risk endangering the human population.

Wheeljack: Are you suggesting we sit back and do nothing?

Arcee: You! Loose cannon! Your cowboy antics almost blew our cover.

Wheeljack: Cover?

Bulkhead: We're robots in disguise, Jackie.

All other instances of the word "robot" that I can find are spoken by humans.

In fact, in Darkness Rising Pt 1, Ratchet takes great offense and corrects the idea that they are "robots" built by anyone.

From another transcript (edited for spelling errors):

Raf: So if you guys are robots, who made you?

Ratchet: Oh, please We are autonomous robotic organisms From the Planet Cybertron.

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    I would assume that they would feel about being robots the same way that we do about being part of the animal kingdom. They probably would look at it as more of an evolutionary thing like we do, always trying to rise above their robotic origins, as we try to rise above our animal origins.
    – Urdungo
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 13:05

In Transformers Prime there is use of the word "bot" in a couple of episodes. Often it is in the middle of a sentence while engaged in a fight with Deceptions.

Don't have any definitive proof, so go watch the series... :-)

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    But isn't that because of "Autobot" - the same way that they use "con" as in "Decepticon"? Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 7:56
  • Transformers use the words we have in our language. "Bot" there comes from "Robot" which comes from "Robota" (worker). As simple as that.
    – Envite
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 11:48
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    @VictorySaber is correct. In TF:Prime, they refer to themselves as "'Bots" and Decepticons as "Cons", but never refer to Decepticons as "Bots", implying that "Bots" is slang for "Autobots".
    – phantom42
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 12:30

When they refer to themselves, they describe themselves as 'Autonomous Robotic Organisms' from the planet Cybertron. Not 'robots'. Optimus Prime himself said, "You can call us 'Autobots' for short." They also use the term 'Autobots' when referring to each other generically or as a group. There you have it from the head Autobot himself.

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