noun, often attributive
ma·​chine | \mə-ˈshēn \

Definition of machine 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a 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 (see assemblage sense 1) of parts that transmit forces, motion, and energy one to another in a predetermined manner

(2) : an instrument (such 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 a machine for cleaning carpets

g : a coin-operated device a cigarette machine

h : machinery used with the or in plural

2a : 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 building a powerful war machine

(2) : a highly organized political group under the leadership of a boss or small clique a politician who challenged the local party machine

3 : a literary device or contrivance introduced for dramatic effect


machined; machining

Definition of machine (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: 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

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Other Words from machine


machinability or less commonly machineability \ -​ˌshē-​nə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
machinable or less commonly machineable \ -​ˈshē-​nə-​bəl \ adjective

Examples of machine in a Sentence


Shovels are tools; bulldozers are machines. Do you know how to operate this machine? The machine is working properly. He was bragging about his new machine. The coach turned the team into a scoring machine. My younger brother is an eating machine. a politician who dared to challenge the local party machine Their army is a well-oiled machine.


The parts of the engine have been precisely machined.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On Martha’s Vineyard, four troopers patrol approximately 90 miles of state roads and maintain one of two breath-test machines on the island, according to Procopio. Todd Wallack,, "For some State Police, it’s a posting in paradise," 14 July 2018 Theft Someone broke into the cash boxes of a vending machine in the 20 block of Busse Highway and stole cash between 9 p.m. July 4 and 6:54 a.m. July 5. Staff Report,, "Police reports: Fireworks used to set fire to portable toilet in Park Ridge," 13 July 2018 The owner would put a milk crate in front of the soda machine for the young man. Myrna Petlicki, Lake County News-Sun, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Dockside Dogs in Waukegan," 10 July 2018 Meanwhile, smaller player Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. struck a deal to merge with the maker of Keurig coffee machines. Allison Prang, WSJ, "PepsiCo Reports Slowing Decline in Beverage Sales," 10 July 2018 Examples include poultry incubators and different types of dairy machines. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "How President Trump's Chinese tariffs affect American consumers," 6 July 2018 This new generation of machines have been designed to address those concerns. Fortune, "Want a Bike Fit for the Tour de France? It Will Cost You About $12,000," 6 July 2018 Thursday morning, reporters got to see many of the machines that will be used there. Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Donald Trump to oversee groundbreaking of Foxconn in Wisconsin as dispute with Harley-Davidson continues," 28 June 2018 Outside of Westworld, Dolores heads to Arnold's old house, where Ford has left one of the machines that creates the hosts. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "All the Questions We Have After the 'Westworld' Finale," 25 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The failure was traced back to a tiny pipe that was machined only slightly imprecisely. Roma Agrawal, New York Times, "Under Modernity’s Hood: Precision Engineering," 14 May 2018 Directed by Gary Ross, who machined the script together with Olivia Milch (and the uncredited help of anyone who’s ever written a caper flick), the movie goes down relatively easy despite these nits. Gary Ross, New York Times, "Review: ‘Ocean’s 8’ Women Walk Away With a Male Franchise. Sort Of.," 5 June 2018 Molds for climbing holds were machined by a CNC mill. Jenny Earnest, Outside Online, "How Two Scientists Will Build Mountains," 30 Apr. 2018 In an effort to reduce weight and increase fuel economy, today's rotors are very thin and cannot be machined in most cases. Bob Weber,, "Do drivers not use their blinkers anymore or are they low on blinker fluid?," 24 June 2017 What happened to rebuilding calipers and machining rotors? Bob Weber,, "Do drivers not use their blinkers anymore or are they low on blinker fluid?," 24 June 2017 Most notably, The Field Company machined the cooking surface of their skillet to a high sheen so food is less likely to stick; a detail that helps with things like grabbing and flipping over-easy eggs. Jakob Schiller, Outside Online, "The Field Skillet Is a Modern Spin on an Old Favorite," 20 Apr. 2018 But machining titanium cases proved tricky, as the resulting sparks had a tendency to combust. Wei Koh, A-LIST, "How the Watch Industry Plundered the Periodic Table," 3 Apr. 2018 The phone is machined from a single piece of stainless steel. Stefan Nicola,, "Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Nokia’s Banana Phone Steal the Big Mobile Show," 26 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'machine.' 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 machine


circa 1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1853, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for machine


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

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Statistics for machine

Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for machine

The first known use of machine was circa 1545

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More Definitions for machine



English Language Learners Definition of machine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



English Language Learners Definition of machine (Entry 2 of 2)

: to shape (something) by using a machine


ma·​chine | \mə-ˈshēn \

Kids Definition of machine

1 : a device with moving parts that does some desired work when it is provided with power a sewing machine

2 : vehicle sense 1 a flying machine

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Comments on machine

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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