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noun ma·chine \mə-ˈshēn\

Simple Definition of machine

  • : a piece of equipment with moving parts that does work when it is given power from electricity, gasoline, etc.

  • : a vehicle (such as a car or motorcycle)

  • : a person or group that does something efficiently, quickly, or repeatedly like a machine

Full Definition of machine

  1. 1 a archaic :  a constructed thing whether material or immaterial b :  conveyance, vehicle; especially :  automobile c archaic :  a military engine d :  any of various apparatuses formerly used to produce stage effects e (1) :  an assemblage of parts that transmit forces, motion, and energy one to another in a predetermined manner (2) :  an instrument (as a lever) designed to transmit or modify the application of power, force, or motion f :  a mechanically, electrically, or electronically operated device for performing a task g :  a coin-operated device <a cigarette machine> h :  machinery —used with the or in plural

  2. 2 a :  a living organism or one of its functional systems b :  one that resembles a machine (as in being methodical, tireless, or consistently productive) <a gifted publicist and quote machine — John Lancaster> c (1) :  a combination of persons acting together for a common end along with the agencies they use (2) :  a highly organized political group under the leadership of a boss or small clique

  3. 3 :  a literary device or contrivance introduced for dramatic effect

Examples of machine

  1. Shovels are tools; bulldozers are machines.

  2. Do you know how to operate this machine?

  3. The machine is working properly.

  4. He was bragging about his new machine.

  5. The coach turned the team into a scoring machine.

  6. My younger brother is an eating machine.

  7. a politician who dared to challenge the local party machine

  8. Their army is a well-oiled machine.

Origin of machine

Middle French, from Latin machina, from Greek mēchanē (Doric dialect machana), from mēchos means, expedient — more at may

First Known Use: circa 1545

Other Mechanical Engineering Terms



verb ma·chine

Simple Definition of machine

  • : to shape (something) by using a machine

Full Definition of machine


  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to process by or as if by machine; especially :  to reduce or finish by or as if by turning, shaping, planing, or milling by machine-operated tools

ma·chin·abil·i·ty also ma·chine·abil·i·ty play \-ˌshē-nə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
ma·chin·able also ma·chine·able play \-ˈshē-nə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of machine

  1. The parts of the engine have been precisely machined.


First Known Use of machine


Other Mechanical Engineering Terms

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up machine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

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