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"I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled 'Science Fiction' and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Droid (Star Wars)  
  A contraction of "android", it actually describes one of a variety of robots.  

Unique to the Star Wars universe (LucasFilms has a trademark on it, as far as I know), this contraction has entered the common language of science fiction. It has been used before, however; see droid from Robots of the World! Arise! by M. Wolf.

The only reasonable derivation of the word "droid" is from "android" which means "having human features." However, in the Star Wars universe, the term droid is always used to describe mechanical robots; not all of them have recognizable human shapes. One robot that is human-shaped is C-3PO (See Threepio).

...the farmer's eyes narrowed as he concentrated on the sand-scoured but still flashy bronze finish of the tall, humanoid Threepio.

"I presume you function," he grumbled at the robot. "Do you know customs and protocol?"

"Do I know protocol?" Threepio echoed as the farmer looked him up and down. Threepio was determined to embarass the jawa when it came to selling his abilities, "Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function. I am also well-"

"Don't need a protocol 'droid," the farmer snapped dryly.

"I don't blame you, sir," Threepio rapidly agreed. "I couldn't be more in agreement...For someone of your interests, sir, a protocol 'droid would be a useless waste of money. No, sir - versatility is my middle name. See Vee Threepio - Vee for versatility - at your service...

"I need," the farmer broke in... "a 'droid that knows something about the binary language of independently programmable moisture vaporators."

From Star Wars, by George Lucas.
Published by Del Rey in 1976
Additional resources -

Low moisture planets were much in the minds of science fiction authors; read more about the vaporators of Tatooine.

Alternatively, you might enjoy a look at another kind of automaton with its own point of view; see the self-satisfied door from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Star Wars
  More Ideas and Technology by George Lucas
  Tech news articles related to Star Wars
  Tech news articles related to works by George Lucas

Droid (Star Wars)-related news articles:
  - GRACE Robot Specializes In Etiquette And Protocol
  - Dexter Dynamically Balancing Humanoid Robot
  - US Army To Be 30 Percent Droid By 2020?
  - Lingodroid Robots Invent Spoken Language
  - Aldebaran Robot Talks Like C3PO - Almost
  - How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio

Articles related to Robotics
Dyson's Secret Household Robots
Festo BionicSwift Bird Robots Described In 1930
Robotics Jobs In The Food Industry
Smallest Remote-Controlled Walking Robot Crabs

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Science Fiction in the News

Small Town Wants 60 License Plate Readers
'the registration number which the traffic control automatically photographed as she left the controlway...'

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'It could maintain a steady six miles per hour...'

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Dyson's Secret Household Robots
'...work a human being does around a house.'

Festo BionicSwift Bird Robots Described In 1930
'Bird-like robots now descended from the ceiling of the theatre...'

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'The efficient robot waiter of the Sky Club had cleared away the remnants of an epicurean meal.'

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'...in the tank the new body and the new mind and memory and life has taken almost instant form.'

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'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance. It had to be coaxed down...'

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