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 Whatever purpose these debates may have served at some point in the past has been overrun by media excess and politics’ cynical machinery. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Let’s Cancel the Presidential Debates Forever," 31 July 2020 But photos showed a building with machinery on the roof. The Economist, "Booms in the night What to make of a series of odd explosions in Iran," 11 July 2020 In addition, a row of numbers on the labels may have caused postal sorting machinery to misinterpret where the mail was supposed to go. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Absentee ballots didn't get counted because of late delivery, misdelivery and bad postmarks, post office says," 10 July 2020 Authorities said Cook became pinned between machinery. Carol Robinson |, al, "’I can’t even wrap my mind around this’: Family mourns man killed in Homewood industrial accident," 28 June 2020 Pride has been fined in 2016 and 2019 for other workplace hazards at the plant, including a machinery malfunction that amputated the tip of one worker’s finger and an ammonia leak. al, "Pilgrim’s Pride fined nearly $27,000 for violations found after Alabama worker’s death," 7 July 2020 The machinery used by many of these viruses to copy their genomes is particularly sloppy, which means that errors—new mutations—can quickly accrue, raising the odds of hitting upon mutations that allow the virus to switch hosts. Rachel Ehrenberg, Ars Technica, "The bat-virus détente," 3 July 2020 But its pointing machinery broke down after four, long enough to find planets only in roughly the inner half of their stars’ temperate zones. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "There should be billions of Earths out there. Why can’t we find them?," 24 June 2020 This means that cells must express all of these proteins for the virus to be able to infiltrate them and hijack their machinery to replicate. Leslie Kay, Scientific American, "Why COVID-19 Makes People Lose Their Sense of Smell," 13 June 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

4 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Machinery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 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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