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

Definition of machine

  1. 1a archaic :  a constructed thing whether material or immaterialb :  conveyance, vehicle; especially :  automobilec archaic :  a military engined :  any of various apparatuses formerly used to produce stage effectse (1) :  an assemblage (see assemblage 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 motionf :  a mechanically, electrically, or electronically operated device for performing a task a machine for cleaning carpetsg :  a coin-operated device a cigarette machineh :  machinery —used with the or in plural

  2. 2a :  a living organism or one of its functional systemsb :  one that resembles a machine (as in being methodical, tireless, or consistently productive) a gifted publicist and quote machine — John Lancasterc (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. 3 :  a literary device or contrivance introduced for dramatic effect

Examples of machine in a Sentence

  1. Shovels are tools; bulldozers are machines.

  2. Do you know how to operate this machine?

  3. The machine is working properly.

  4. He was bragging about his new machine.

  5. The coach turned the team into a scoring machine.

  6. My younger brother is an eating machine.

  7. a politician who dared to challenge the local party machine

  8. Their army is a well-oiled machine.

Recent Examples of machine from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of machine

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

Other Mechanical Engineering Terms



verb ma·chine

Definition of machine




  1. transitive verb
  2. :  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


or less commonly


play \-ˌshē-nə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun


or less commonly


play \-ˈshē-nə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of machine in a Sentence

  1. The parts of the engine have been precisely machined.

First Known Use of machine


Other Mechanical Engineering Terms

MACHINE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of machine for English Language Learners

  • : 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



Definition of machine for English Language Learners

  • : to shape (something) by using a machine

MACHINE Defined for Kids


noun ma·chine \mə-ˈshēn\

Definition of machine for Students

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

  2. 2 :  vehicle 1 a flying machine

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


to plunder or ravage

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time-traveler-quiz-which-word-came-first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!