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

The machine, made by farming machinery company Sakakibara Kikai, stands 8.5 meters tall and weighs more than seven metric tons. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "In Case You Missed It," 13 July 2018 The updated x-ray machine, called the MARS Spectral X-ray Scanner, however, is able to reveal detail of bones, soft tissue and other components of the body with incredible clarity. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Check Out These Awesome New 3D, Full-Color X-Rays," 13 July 2018 This also means there could potentially still be issues with Apple’s ultra-thin, butterfly-switch keyboards, even on the new machines. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "Apple's MacBook Pros Get Faster Chips, New Keyboards (Kinda)," 12 July 2018 While Cynthia Nixon has had plenty of high-profile celebrity support in her bid to become New York’s next governor, Andrew Cuomo has mostly been relying on the backing of, well, the state Democratic Party machine. Gabriella Paiella, The Cut, "The Winklevoss Twins Are Reportedly Helping Host Cuomo’s Hamptons Fundraiser," 12 July 2018 The vote was marred by allegations of fraud and irregularities, largely blamed on electronic voting machines meant to tabulate results speedily. Sinan Salaheddin, Fox News, "Iraq begins hand recount of May ballots from city of Kirkuk," 4 July 2018 The first Windows 10 on ARM machines use the Snapdragon 835 processor, with designs based on the Snapdragon 850 (a higher clocked Snapdragon 845 intended for laptops) expected later this year. Snapdragon 1000 will be the follow-up to the 850. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "More details leak on “Snapdragon 1000,” Qualcomm’s chip for Windows 10 laptops," 22 June 2018 The group was set to review votes cast on machines Monday but did not meet. Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune, "Strong concedes Lake County primary race to GOP challenger," 19 June 2018 These days, our news tends to come from an always-on machine in our hands, which lacks the basic rules of judicious engagement that New York subway riders intuitively follow. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "raceAhead: What Would Mr. Rogers Do About Immigration?," 18 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

9 Sep 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).


the setting in which something occurs

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