Karel Čapek introduced and made popular the frequently used international word robot, which first appeared in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) in 1920. While it is frequently thought that he was the originator of the word, he wrote a short letter in reference to an article in the Oxford English Dictionary etymology in which he named his brother, painter and writer Josef Čapek, as its actual inventor. In an article in the Czech journal Lidové noviny in 1933, he also explained that he had originally wanted to call the creatures laboři (from Latin labor, work). However, he did not like the word, seeing it as too artificial, and sought advice from his brother Josef, who suggested "roboti" (robots in English).
The word robot comes from the word robota, meaning literally serf labor, and, figuratively, "drudgery" or "hard work" in modern Czech (in Slovak, Russian, Polish, archaic Czech and other Slavic languages a similar word means simply "work").