ma·​chine | \ mə-ˈshēn How to pronounce machine (audio) \
plural machines

Definition of machine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a mechanically, electrically, or electronically operated device for performing a task an espresso machine The store sold treadmills and other exercise machines. … manufactures machines for the processing and packaging of pharmaceuticals …— Rosie Fitzmaurice
b : conveyance, vehicle especially : automobile Throughout the auto industry, the move is toward bigger engines and seductive ad campaigns pitched at motorists who yearn for the thrill of driving a mean machine. — David Pauly et al.
c : a coin-operated device a snack 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 : any of various apparatuses formerly used to produce stage effects
f : computer especially : personal computer You might think that your files are safe on your Mac and Windows machine. But hard drives are not perfect. Data can become corrupted, and it's easy to delete the wrong files by mistake. — Andrew Uh A firm-owned laptop is configured with the security software and applications the user needs to perform their job. Relocating the laptop to the home network preserves the security of the computer, making it safer to use than the typical home machine. — Sharon D. Nelson and John W. Simek
2a : someone or something that resembles a machine (as in being methodical, tireless, or consistently productive) … a gifted publicist and quote machine— John Lancaster Dan Reeves's Falcons weren't given much of a chance against the Vikings, the top scoring machine of all time.— Paul Zimmerman
b(1) : a combination of persons acting together for a common end along with the agencies they use The Homefront tells the fascinating story of how America transformed itself in the years 1941-45 from a society mired in depression into a war machine more powerful than any the world had yet known.— Stanley Marcus From the first months of the war, each nation's propaganda machine encouraged its citizens to lionize their aces—those pilots having five or more victories.— Howard G. Fisher If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth …— Henry David Thoreau
(2) : a highly organized political group under the leadership of a boss (see boss entry 1 sense 2) or small group of individuals a politician who challenged the local party machine
c : a living organism or one of its functional systems If fame means parading the inevitable ravages that time and excess wreak on the human machine, I'd just as soon do that in private.— Stanley Bing
3 : a literary device or contrivance (such as a supernatural being or event) introduced for dramatic effect
4a archaic : a constructed thing whether material or immaterial : structure … those supporters and pillars, upon whom the frame and machine of the building was grounded …— John Stow and Anthony Munday … with what beauty, art and contrivance, particular creatures are made, and how the several parts of this great machine are fitted to each other, and make a regular and uniform world …— William Sherlock
b archaic : a military engine (such as a catapult)


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

Other Words from machine


machinability or less commonly machineability \ mə-​ˌshē-​nə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce machine (audio) \ noun
machinable or less commonly machineable \ mə-​ˈshē-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce machine (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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is blocking a European Union ban on Russian oil imports, a supply that is putting tens of billions of dollars every month into Mr. Putin’s war machine. Garry Kasparov, WSJ, 16 May 2022 An obvious example is artificial intelligence and machine learning, the adoption of which has now become a business imperative in a wide and growing range of industries and functions. Tom O'toole, Forbes, 13 May 2022 Policymakers want to stop financial support to a war machine. New York Times, 3 May 2022 But Moscow's war machine has operated chaotically for much of the war. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 2 May 2022 Patricia Ruiz is a teacher turned research scientist who focuses on artificial intelligence and machine learning at nonprofit Digital Promise Global. San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Apr. 2022 But some military and technology analysts worry that the strategy could backfire, inflaming anger over a shock campaign directed at mothers who may be thousands of miles from the drivers of the Kremlin's war machine. Arkansas Online, 16 Apr. 2022 But some military and technology analysts worry that the strategy could backfire, inflaming anger over a shock campaign directed at mothers who may be thousands of miles from the drivers of the Kremlin’s war machine. Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2022 But crippling Kremlin's war machine now is vital to stop the atrocities committed in Ukraine. Will Daniel, Fortune, 6 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb How will machine learning be operationalized for the first model and for all those to follow? Adam Famularo, Forbes, 26 Jan. 2022 Advanced manufacturing students were needed to machine some of the parts and build the plaques. John Laidler,, 11 Nov. 2021 It was once considered modern to architect this chaos into order, to machine the wet muck of existence into clean lines and hard edges. Matthew Schneier, Curbed, 14 Sep. 2021 The ferrule is fully machined, and the Anix Blade Locking System keeps the blades secure at all times. Jace Bauserman, Field & Stream, 9 Jan. 2020 Check out those wheels, looking like they were machined from a solid chunk of attitudinum. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 30 Mar. 2020 The gun is guaranteed sub-MOA with match ammunition, features in-house machined and matched upper and lower receivers. John Haughey, Outdoor Life, 10 Apr. 2019 The SRC-11—with upper and lower receivers machined from billet 7075-T6 aluminum—chambered in the 6.5 Grendel is ideally suited to big-game hunting. Richard Mann, Field & Stream, 17 Sep. 2019 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, 24 Feb. 2020 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of machine was circa 1545

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Dictionary Entries Near machine



machine bolt

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Statistics for machine

Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Machine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for 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

More from Merriam-Webster on machine

Nglish: Translation of machine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of machine for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about machine


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