mach·​i·​na·​tion | \ ˌma-kə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce machination (audio) , 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

Now, the president’s attorney does not restrict his pardon offers to back channels, nor feel compelled to deny such unseemly machinations in public. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Giuliani: Trump Might Need to ‘Clean Up’ Mueller Probe With Pardons," 15 June 2018 While pride cannot be measured, the significance of an SAFC victory over FC Dallas would have been real and spectacular, given the off-field machinations and low-rent skullduggery of the last year. San Antonio Express-News, "Suds and duds: SAFC loses Open Cup match," 6 June 2018 The focus was on people, the machinations and ploys of city dwellers. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "‘Like Floating Through a Library’: An Interview with Nick Paumgarten," 7 May 2018 But Kahl and Thom Sherman, senior executive vice president for CBS Entertainment, said the corporate legal machinations had no effect on putting together their schedule for the 2018-19 season. Stephen Battaglio,, "Legal battle with Redstones keeps CBS chief Leslie Moonves away from network's upfront breakfast," 16 May 2018 Wild Wild Country focuses on Sheela’s criminal activities and behind-the-scenes machinations — which, to be fair, included the largest bioterror attack in U.S. history. Anna Silman, The Cut, "9 Rajneeshpuram Residents on What Wild Wild Country Got Wrong," 19 Apr. 2018 Every machination of Washington, D.C., is breathlessly hyped like destruction’s eve. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Nobody Believes in Tom Brady. Or Something Like That.," 31 Jan. 2019 Dwelling on plot machinations isn’t the best way to delve into Suspiria, however, because Guadagnino and screenwriter David Kajganich are less interested in the characters and storylines than in the atmosphere and mood. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Suspiria is an ambitious remix of a horror classic," 26 Oct. 2018 But Blackstone’s machinations seem to have broken the spirit, rather than the letter, of the rules. The Economist, "A bondholder finds a sneaky way to trigger insurance against default," 3 May 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

11 Jun 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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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