The primary meaning of the English word is "liveliness" and has been in use much longer than the meaning of "moving image medium".
The history of animation started long before the development of cinematography.
His Pantomimes Lumineuses series of animated films each contained 300 to 700 frames that were manipulated back and forth to last 10 to 15 minutes per film.
Piano music, song, and some dialogue were performed live, while some sound effects were synchronized with an electromagnet.
The mechanical manipulation of puppets and objects to emulate living beings has a very long history in automata.
Automata were popularised by Disney as animatronics.
The earliest extant feature-length animated film is The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) made by director Lotte Reiniger and her collaborators Carl Koch and Berthold Bartosch.
The first animation with full sound synchronization (both music and dialogue) was a short by Walt Disney’s animation studio called Steamboat Willie, featuring Mickey Mouse in 1928.
His Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) was also an early example of character development in drawn animation.
The most successful producer at the time was John Randolph Bray, who, along with animator Earl Hurd, patented the cel animation process that dominated the animation industry for the rest of the decade.