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 Some uses of algorithms and machine learning may also introduce new and perplexing problems for clinicians. Christie Aschwanden, Wired, "Artificial Intelligence Makes Bad Medicine Even Worse," 10 Jan. 2020 More From CMO Today Some of the new funds will also be used for product development, including using machine learning and artificial intelligence in areas such as fraud detection and the platform’s insights and analytics suite, the company said. Sahil Patel, WSJ, "Marketing Tech Firm Partnerize Raises $50 Million in Round Led by Accel-KKR," 8 Jan. 2020 In recent years, Qualcomm and other mobile chipmakers have been including increasingly powerful GPUs and dedicated AI chips in their SoC products—precisely the kind of silicon required for driving software based on machine learning. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Qualcomm is getting into the self-driving market," 7 Jan. 2020 Get our daily newsletter Like most companies deploying intelligent software, Megvii and SenseTime rely on a technique called machine learning. The Economist, "China’s success at AI has relied on good data," 2 Jan. 2020 Meanwhile, in May, Microsoft opened offices in Kenya and Nigeria for engineers working on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and mixed reality. Richard Morgan, Fortune, "Rwanda Is Bringing Tech Buzz to Africa," 30 Dec. 2019 Kopp said, referring to a type of machine-learning that is meant to mimic the way researchers once thought brains functioned. Michael Laris, Washington Post, "This company is trying to teach computers to forecast traffic like the weather," 27 Dec. 2019 And in December, a first-ever workshop on algorithmic fairness was held at the 2019 Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), one of the world’s most influential gatherings of machine learning specialists. Rebecca Robbins, STAT, "3 stories to watch in health tech in 2020," 24 Dec. 2019 As part of that process, Wood did research on how machine learning was used to collect data and on applications for that technology. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "High school student wins Rockwell Automation challenge for software app that could prevent sump pump failure, overflowing," 23 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 About $40 million went into building a 260,000-square-foot building for its head machining equipment. William Thornton |,, "Hyundai to begin production of new engine this year," 17 July 2019 Jack Schron, the Cuyahoga County commissioner who heads the Jergens machining company in Collinwood, said the Cleveland schools should commit to offering its East Side families the same training opportunities as those that exist on the West Side. Patrick O'donnell,, "Cleveland schools, businesses should add more manufacturing training to East Side, business group says," 4 Aug. 2019 Last year, Hyundai invested $388 million on its Montgomery plant to improve its engine shop and add engine head machining capabilities to the mix. William Thornton |,, "Hyundai to begin production of new engine this year," 17 July 2019 There was one issue: the shovel handle was oval, while the attachments on the cross arm were machined for circular tubing. National Geographic, "Inside the Everest expedition that built the world’s highest weather station," 27 June 2019 But what Moy’s video does highlight is the level of detail and difficulty that Apple is putting into machining the Mac Pro grates. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "YouTuber proves Apple’s new Mac Pro would not actually grate cheese that great," 20 June 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

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Machine.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 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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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).


good-natured easy friendliness

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