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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)


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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
Plus, the polyester cover is easy to spot clean (or lint roll, to clean up pet hair) and comes off for machine washing. Phoebe Sklansky, Parents, 25 Nov. 2023 Multimedia machine Sporting a 33-megapixel full-frame sensor and capable of excellent-quality 4K video capture at up to 60 frames per second, the Sony a7 IV is a mean stills and video shooting machine. Dan Bracaglia,, 25 Nov. 2023 In the large open-air area, soldiers train to shoot drones with machine and anti-aircraft guns mounted on pick-up trucks. Oleksiy Pshemyskiy, ABC News, 25 Nov. 2023 And many rice cookers can actually do a lot more than cook rice; plenty are bona fide multi-cookers with the capabilities of a slow cooker, pressure cooker, and food steamer all in one machine. Wilder Davies, Bon Appétit, 24 Nov. 2023 The machines that changed history, revisiting a royal murder, American cinema’s biggest decade and more. ‘Nuts & Bolts’ Review: The Levers That Move the World The making of machines has been a central part of the human story. Wsj Books Staff, WSJ, 24 Nov. 2023 Despite a growing application suite for quantum computing, developing new algorithms that make full use of the quantum advantage – in particular in machine learning – remains a critical area of ongoing research. Daniel Lidar, Discover Magazine, 23 Nov. 2023 Bowling alleys across the country are ditching traditional pinsetters — the machines that sweep away and reset pins — in favor of contraptions that employ string. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2023 Matthew Chantry, who works on machine learning forecasting at the ECMWF, says that Google DeepMind’s GraphCast has emerged as the strongest of the AI contenders. WIRED, 14 Nov. 2023
Made from sturdy 100 percent cotton and thick canvas material, this bag is not only durable but also easy to machine wash and fold for on-the-go convenience. Dhara Patel, Peoplemag, 11 Nov. 2023 Then there’s the turntable’s Keel sub-chassis, which is custom machined from solid aluminum and set into a base available in two colorways: natural wood or white. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 14 July 2023 Moffett’s are mostly sculptures but vary from cleanly machined to roughly collaged. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2023 The blend of materials creates a lightweight feel that’s easy to machine wash on laundry day. Madison Yauger, Peoplemag, 20 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 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 Nov. 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

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