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

Still, these machinations did not earn him a place in the Sardi’s hall of fame. Town & Country, "Wall of Shame: What Happens to Controversial Portrait Walls in the #MeToo Era?," 30 Nov. 2018 With that possibility looming in the distance, Scalise’s political machinations—which have reportedly unnerved McCarthy supporters—seem potentially pointless to G.O.P. operatives, who would have preferred a new Speaker sooner rather than later. Fox News Staff, Fox News, "The GOP battle for the speakership intensifies," 7 Sep. 2018 The exam machinations help explain why Japan—the world’s third-biggest economy and one of its most advanced--has so few women in elite professions and managerial positions. Megumi Fujikawa, WSJ, "Medical School’s Exam-Rigging Against Women Prompts Furor in Japan," 7 Aug. 2018 But those regulatory machinations did not dominate headlines like the sordid stories about Pruitt recruiting government workers to help him buy moisturizer from Ritz-Carltons or a mattress from Trump’s Washington hotel did. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: With Scott Pruitt gone, green groups now turn the spotlight on Ryan Zinke," 9 July 2018 None of Green’s in-game machinations paid off Friday – not that pulling every lever perfectly would have changed the outcome for a team that failed to get a run despite three times having a runner in scoring position with fewer than two outs. Kevin Acee,, "Marlins beat Padres in Memorial Day repeat," 8 June 2018 Only Bienville’s machinations brought New Orleans to its present spot. Rick Jervis, USA TODAY, "New Orleans celebrates 300 years of survival from storms, floods, revolts and newcomers," 12 Apr. 2018 If words could bind a criminal, Chamberlain’s desperate machinations would have changed history. Jenni Laidman,, "Audiobooks: Narration keeps tension taut in 'Munich' by Robert Harris, plus more reviews," 10 Apr. 2018 But the ’90s role Hendrix is most commonly identified with is Meredith Blake, the stepmother-to-be trying to stop the machinations of two precocious twins (both played by Lindsay Lohan) in the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap. Kristen Lopez, Vox, "The Parent Trap, Meredith Blake, and the ongoing reclamation of “bitch”," 28 July 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

8 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for machination

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on machination

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with machination

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for machination

Spanish Central: Translation of machination

Nglish: Translation of machination for Spanish Speakers

Comments on machination

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


to gather or build up little by little

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