noun, often attributive
ma·​chine | \ mə-ˈshēn How to pronounce machine (audio) \

Definition of machine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a mechanically, electrically, or electronically operated device for performing a task a machine for cleaning carpets
b : conveyance, vehicle especially : automobile
c : a coin-operated device a cigarette machine
d(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
e : machinery used with the or in plural
f : any of various apparatuses formerly used to produce stage effects
2a : one that resembles a machine (as in being methodical, tireless, or consistently productive) a gifted publicist and quote machine— John Lancaster
b(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
c : a living organism or one of its functional systems
3 : a literary device or contrivance introduced for dramatic effect
4a archaic : a constructed thing whether material or immaterial
b archaic : a military engine


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 \ mə-​ˌshē-​nə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce machineability (audio) \ noun
machinable or less commonly machineable \ mə-​ˈshē-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce machineable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for machine

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of machine in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb The parts of the engine have been precisely machined.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But within the recordings Fortune examined, there was no information given about whether recordings had been sent to human or machine reviewers, which Google is using to improve the assistant's natural language processing. Fortune, "Smart speakers can mistakenly record audio nearly 20 times per day on average, study finds," 22 Feb. 2020 The limo included things like an electronic bar, three phones (one in the front and two in the back), a TV and VCR, raised roof for extra headroom, plus a paper-shredder and fax machine. Carol Cain, Detroit Free Press, "As presidential train rolls through Michigan, don't forget Kwame Kilpatrick," 22 Feb. 2020 Recently, a polyglot named Susanna Zaraysky submitted to a two-hour session of tests inside an fMRI machine. TheWeek, "Is the polyglot brain different? MIT researchers are trying to find out.," 22 Feb. 2020 From bigger locations, to more days, and even new machines. Los Angeles Times, "How to vote the new way in L.A. (in 2020)," 22 Feb. 2020 This velboa whale blanket is plush, soft, and machine washable. Madison Durham, USA TODAY, "12 great baby shower gifts you can get from Carter’s," 21 Feb. 2020 Providing parts and service for those machines alone creates cash flow that gives the business some stability, said Travis Baldwin, a principal of Congruent Investment Partners LLC. Patrick Danner,, "San Antonio-area industrial-vehicle maker gets new life, lands $62M Marine Corps contract," 21 Feb. 2020 So somehow machines brought many people into the game. Will Knight, Wired, "Defeated Chess Champ Garry Kasparov Has Made Peace With AI," 21 Feb. 2020 Prior types of machine learning systems required close supervision from humans to analyze molecular properties in drug discovery and produced spotty results. Casey Ross, STAT, "Aided by machine learning, scientists find a novel antibiotic able to kill superbugs in mice," 20 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Geneva concept has a carbon-fiber center console machined from a solid block made from 280 individual layers of composite material, something that requires 90 hours on a five-axis milling machine. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "Aston Martin Shows Off Q Version of DBX," 24 Feb. 2020 The plant will be able to machine parts parts, weld and join parts and perform additive manufacturing, Pacheco said. Lee Roop |, al, "Blue Origin will ‘rapidly move’ ahead at new Huntsville engine plant," 18 Feb. 2020 The ferrule is machined from grade-5 titanium with a precision-ground tip. Jace Bauserman, Field & Stream, "The Best New Broadheads from the 2020 Archery Trade Show," 9 Jan. 2020 Also new, and totally cool, is Hoyt’s Integrate Mounting System, which is machined directly into the riser and allows compatible rests to be securely mounted perfectly flush and square. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Best New Bows of the 2020 Archery Trade Show," 11 Jan. 2020 Even to turn a fuel source into the shape and size needed for a particular reactor means it must be machined safely, which the HFEF also does. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "So ... What Actually Happens Inside a Hot Cell?," 8 Jan. 2020 And Hyundai carried out a $388 million upgrade for technology in the engine shop and adding engine head machining capabilities. William Thornton |, al, "Montgomery Hyundai plant production was up in 2019," 3 Jan. 2020 Having the option to go sock-free and being able to machine wash the Allbirds shoes are two of the shoe's best features. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, "How Do Amazon's Allbirds Knockoffs Compare to the Real Thing?," 15 Oct. 2019 Assuming adequate rotor thickness remains, they can be machined to a fresh/true surface. Brad Bergholdt,, "Shudder likely indicates need for new brake pads and rotors," 3 Dec. 2019

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 4a


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 entry 1

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Time Traveler for machine

Time Traveler

The first known use of machine was circa 1545

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Statistics for machine

Last Updated

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Machine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for machine


How to pronounce machine (audio)

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.
informal : 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 How to pronounce machine (audio) \

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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