me·​chan·​i·​cal | \mi-ˈka-ni-kəl \

Definition of mechanical 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : of or relating to machinery (see machinery sense 1) or tools mechanical applications of science a mechanical genius mechanical aptitude

(2) : produced or operated by a machine or tool mechanical power a mechanical refrigerator a mechanical saw

b : of or relating to manual operations

2 : of or relating to artisans (see artisan sense 1) or machinists the mechanical trades

3a : done as if by machine : seemingly uninfluenced by the mind or emotions : automatic busy in a leisurely mechanical way— Douglas Stewart

b : of or relating to technicalities or petty matters nor was any capacity shown for anything above a mechanical handling of the matter— H. O. Taylor

4a : relating to, governed by, or in accordance with the principles of mechanics mechanical energy

b : relating to the quantitative relations of force and matter mechanical pressure of wind on a tower

5 : caused by, resulting from, or relating to a process that involves a purely physical as opposed to a chemical or biological change or process mechanical erosion of rock



Definition of mechanical (Entry 2 of 2)

1 obsolete : mechanic sense 1

2 : a piece of finished copy consisting typically of type proofs and artwork positioned and mounted for photomechanical reproduction

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Other Words from mechanical


mechanically \-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for mechanical


spontaneous, impulsive, instinctive, automatic, mechanical mean acting or activated without deliberation. spontaneous implies lack of prompting and connotes naturalness. a spontaneous burst of applause impulsive implies acting under stress of emotion or spirit of the moment. impulsive acts of violence instinctive stresses action involving neither judgment nor will. blinking is an instinctive reaction automatic implies action engaging neither the mind nor the emotions and connotes a predictable response. his denial was automatic mechanical stresses the lifeless, often perfunctory character of the response. a mechanical teaching method

Examples of mechanical in a Sentence


The flight was delayed because of mechanical problems. I was impressed by her mechanical know-how. She gave a mechanical reply. Copying down the numbers is a boring and mechanical job. The actor gave a stiff and mechanical performance.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

As a speedrunner, mmDust explained, his primary interest in games was mechanical. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "The backlash to streamer with a ‘god complex’ reveals a big Twitch taboo," 31 Oct. 2018 Photo: Joshua Roberts/REUTERS Newsletter Sign-up The building, which is slated to be completed by the end of the year, will include a private covered porte-cochere with a mechanical parking system that moves cars into a garage. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "Uber Co-Founder Travis Kalanick Buys Manhattan Penthouse for $36 Million," 7 Nov. 2018 Like other crafty tiny homes, the Devasa makes tiny living feel a little less tiny thanks to a mechanical system that expands its usable space. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Clever two-story tiny house has an extendable roof," 6 Nov. 2018 These mechanical systems are used for things like the gyroscope and accelerometers. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Helium implicated in weird iPhone malfunctions," 31 Oct. 2018 It’s time to ditch that pokey mechanical hard drive. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "Load up on cheap, speedy storage with this 120GB SSD on sale for $23," 26 Oct. 2018 The jagged edges of the cobbles inject the likelihood of regular punctures and mechanical failures. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "The Biggest Booby-Trap at the Tour de France: Cobblestone Roads," 13 July 2018 Launched in 2009, Kepler has endured mechanical failures and other mishaps. Marcia Dunn, The Seattle Times, "NASA’s Kepler Telescope almost out of fuel, forced to nap," 10 July 2018 Launched in 2009, Kepler has endured mechanical failures and other mishaps. Washington Post, "NASA’s Kepler Telescope almost out of fuel, forced to nap," 9 July 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mechanical

The first known use of mechanical was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of mechanical

: of or relating to machinery

: having or using machinery

: happening or done without thought or without any effort to be different or interesting


me·​chan·​i·​cal | \mi-ˈka-ni-kəl \

Kids Definition of mechanical

1 : of or relating to machinery He has mechanical skill.

2 : made or operated by a machine a mechanical toy

3 : done or produced as if by a machine Charles Wallace … started to walk in a strange, gliding, mechanical manner.— Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

Other Words from mechanical

mechanically adverb


me·​chan·​i·​cal | \mi-ˈkan-i-kəl \

Medical Definition of mechanical 

1 : relating to the quantitative relations of force and matter mechanical pressure exerted by the bubbles in the tissues— H. G. Armstrong

2 : caused by, resulting from, or relating to physical as opposed to biological or chemical processes or change mechanical injury mechanical asphyxiation

Other Words from mechanical

mechanically \-​i-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

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Comments on mechanical

What made you want to look up mechanical? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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