ma·​chin·​ery | \ mə-ˈshē-nə-rē How to pronounce machinery (audio) , -ˈshēn-rē \
plural machineries

Definition of machinery

1a : machines in general or as a functioning unit
b : the working parts of a machine
2 : the means or system by which something is kept in action or a desired result is obtained the machinery of government

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Examples of machinery in a Sentence

Some of the mill's machinery was damaged in the fire. a piece of farm machinery Something was clogging the machinery. The United Nations has set up machinery for mediation.
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Recent Examples on the Web But even after the machinery of government clanked into motion, missteps, endemic obstacles and lack of clear communication have plagued the efforts to meet the needs of the nation. Dan Balz, Anchorage Daily News, "Crisis exposes how America has hollowed out its government," 17 May 2020 Of late, the full machinery of the state has been brought into play, as if the government no longer needed to disguise its intent. Dan Chiasson, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal," 15 May 2020 The scientists got a sample and, in test tube and animal experiments, showed that the drug, called remdesivir, shut down the replicating machinery of several coronavirus variants. Michael Waldholz, Scientific American, "Three Ways to Make Coronavirus Drugs in a Hurry," 12 May 2020 The need for leaders to be visibly in charge and reassuring is ever-more pressing, and for the machinery of government to be running smoothly. Rosalind Mathieson,, "Politics on Hold: What’s On and What’s Off Due to Coronavirus," 10 May 2020 In another life, Ethan Strauss, a reporter for the Athletic, may have covered the behind-the-scenes machinery of city politics or the business sector. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "Demystifying the Golden State Warriors," 5 May 2020 Energy companies install them to spot leaky pipelines; factories use them to detect worn parts in machinery; and the military uses them to spot enemy fighters in the dark, including from a drone that weighs just 30 grams. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Focusing on fevers: Thermal-imaging tech is on the rise. Can it help fight the coronavirus?," 20 Apr. 2020 Viruses are extremely good at penetrating cells; once inside, a virus with genes from SARS-CoV-2 could use the machinery of the cell to produce proteins to trigger an immune response for the coronavirus. Popular Science, "Scientists are experimenting with three kinds of COVID-19 vaccines," 30 Mar. 2020 In our accelerated media age, the machinery of endless repetition constructs recalcitrant social realities and makes changing them hard. Alexander Coolidge,, "Coronavirus: Kroger Cincinnati stores reserve first hour for senior shoppers," 20 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'machinery.' 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 machinery

1687, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for machinery

Time Traveler

The first known use of machinery was in 1687

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Statistics for machinery

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Machinery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for machinery


How to pronounce machinery (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of machinery

: machines of a particular kind or machines in general
: the working parts of a machine
: an organization or system by which something is done


ma·​chin·​ery | \ mə-ˈshē-nə-rē How to pronounce machinery (audio) , -ˈshēn-rē \

Kids Definition of machinery

1 : a group of devices with moving parts that are used to perform specific jobs
2 : the working parts of a device used to perform a particular job
3 : the people and equipment by which something is done the machinery of government

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