1 of 2


ma·​chine mə-ˈshēn How to pronounce machine (audio)
plural machines
: 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
: 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.
: a coin-operated device
a snack machine
: an assemblage (see assemblage sense 1) of parts that transmit forces, motion, and energy one to another in a predetermined manner
: an instrument (such as a lever) designed to transmit or modify the application of power, force, or motion
: any of various apparatuses formerly used to produce stage effects
: 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
: someone or something that resembles a machine (as in being methodical, tireless, or consistently productive)
… a gifted publicist and quote machineJohn Lancaster
Dan Reeves's Falcons weren't given much of a chance against the Vikings, the top scoring machine of all time.Paul Zimmerman
: 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
: 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
: 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
: a literary device or contrivance (such as a supernatural being or event) introduced for dramatic effect
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
archaic : a military engine (such as a catapult)


2 of 2


machined; machining

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
machinability noun
or less commonly machineability
machinable adjective
or less commonly machineable

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
This Specialty Coffee Association-certified, foolproof machine produces an excellent cup, every time—the single most important quality in any coffee maker. Nick Guy,, 16 Sep. 2023 The panelists also recommended leaning on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and satellite observations to better look for—and explain—the objects. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 15 Sep. 2023 The rest of the Dunkin’ employees seemed less than thrilled to make the bev, though, which makes sense, now knowing that the machine gets clogged by the Munchkins. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 15 Sep. 2023 The theory is that with enough data machine learning, algorithms could be taught to understand whale clicks. Longreads, 15 Sep. 2023 The machines used to take wagers were flickering on and off Friday at properties throughout the chain. David K. Li, NBC News, 15 Sep. 2023 Getting the drain clear of debris will help improve your machine's efficiency and overall functionality, so don't even think about skipping this step. Patricia Shannon, Southern Living, 15 Sep. 2023 Real Estate Newswire is a service provided by United Robots, which uses machine learning to generate analysis of data from Propmix, an aggregator of national real-estate data. Real Estate Newswire, oregonlive, 4 Sep. 2023 Both machines are authentically Lamborghini—extroverted and loud and hyperbolic—but are aimed in different directions. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 4 Sep. 2023
On a much larger scale, Tesla’s manufacturing breakthroughs are similar to how Apple switched to a unibody design for its laptops — where the full structure of the product comes from machining one aluminum slab and saves on assembly costs. Umar Shakir, The Verge, 14 Sep. 2023 The plutonium is melted, machined, welded, and inspected. Time, 24 July 2023 Other weight savings are achieved by use of a slender-contour, 20-inch barrel along with aggressive spiral fluting of the bolt and machined flats and recesses in the sides of the action, which is pillar-bedded to the stock. Mike Dickerson, Field & Stream, 19 July 2023 Alabama technicians and machinists at what is now General Dynamics in Cullman machined the mirrors that catch the light Webb uses to show those wonders as far as 13 billion light years away. Lee Roop |, al, 12 July 2023 It’s packaged in a flawlessly machined and finished single chassis that doubles as audio art. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 18 June 2023 For a device of such complexity to have functioned, the parts would have needed to be incredibly well machined. Scientific American, 1 May 2022 Feel free to machine or hand wash it cold, and then hang it up to dry. Mia Huelsbeck, Peoplemag, 12 June 2023 The powders are mixed with a binder additive, formed into a shape, machined, and then fused together at high temperature forming a composite. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, 26 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'machine.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle French, from Latin machina, from Greek mēchanē (Doric dialect machana), from mēchos means, expedient — more at may entry 1

First Known Use


circa 1545, in the meaning defined at sense 4a


1853, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of machine was circa 1545

Dictionary Entries Near machine

Cite this Entry

“Machine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
ma·​chine mə-ˈshēn How to pronounce machine (audio)
: a combination of parts that transmit forces, motion, and energy to do some desired work
a sewing machine
: an instrument (as a lever or pulley) designed to transmit or change slightly the application of power, force, or motion
: an organized group that controls a political party


2 of 2 verb
machined; machining
: to shape or finish by machine-operated tools

More from Merriam-Webster on machine

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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