mach·​i·​na·​tion | \ˌma-kə-ˈnā-shən, ˌma-shə-\

Definition of machination 

1 : an act of machinating

2 : a scheming or crafty action or artful design intended to accomplish some usually evil end backstage machinations … that have dominated the film industry— Peter Bogdanovich

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Synonyms for machination


conspiracy, design, intrigue, plot, scheme

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Choose the Right Synonym for machination

plot, intrigue, machination, conspiracy, cabal mean a plan secretly devised to accomplish an evil or treacherous end. plot implies careful foresight in planning a complex scheme. an assassination plot intrigue suggests secret underhanded maneuvering in an atmosphere of duplicity. backstairs intrigue machination implies a contriving of annoyances, injuries, or evils by indirect means. the machinations of a party boss conspiracy implies a secret agreement among several people usually involving treason or great treachery. a conspiracy to fix prices cabal typically applies to political intrigue involving persons of some eminence. a cabal among powerful senators

Examples of machination in a Sentence

incredibly complicated machinations to assassinate the president that inevitably failed

Recent Examples on the Web

The deal-making machinations, which have unfolded in two countries for over a year, are complicated and interconnected. New York Times, "U.K. Clears Way for Bidding War Between Comcast and Disney Over Sky," 5 June 2018 Real estate machinations have been a regular feature of a career in media over the past decade. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Data Sheet—Why WeWork Has to Pay Up for Rapid Growth," 25 Apr. 2018 The same year that the brothers found out about Neubauer’s machinations, Galland, following a series of what appeared to be manic-depressive episodes, tragically killed himself. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "Three Identical Strangers Revisits a Shadowy Scientific Conspiracy," 29 June 2018 Officials say there was and still is uncertainty about Lee’s involvement in the Chinese government’s machinations. Rachel Weiner, Washington Post, "Former CIA officer ‘not a Chinese spy,’ lawyer says," 6 Feb. 2018 Ryan’s potential reemergence is just one of the many machinations happening in the Democratic Caucus right now, as Ocasio-Cortez’s victory in New York underscores the growing unrest with Pelosi and the party’s leadership. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Dems face big loss, big opportunity with Kavanaugh," 10 July 2018 With Supreme Court nominees needing just a majority thanks to a series of machinations in recent years, the math is just not there. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "The Democrats are in dire straits," 28 June 2018 But the Mozart — the Piano Concerto in B-flat major (K. 595), Mozart’s last effort in that genre — is also, in part, a memento of perennially current political machinations: a weak leader, shifting alliances, creeping repression. Matthew Guerrieri,, "Mozart for an era of political machinations," 28 June 2018 There are an abundance of possible roster machinations when the four players return. Kevin Acee,, "Number of Padres could return next week, including Wil Myers," 16 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'machination.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of machination

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near machination






machine bolt

machine buff

Statistics for machination

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for machination

The first known use of machination was in the 15th century

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Comments on machination

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playful or foolish behavior

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