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

Fuhrer said the renovation to the mechanical systems will cost $1 million while the improvements to the public address system will be $250,000. Steve Sadin,, "Smoothie and coffee bar, upgraded HVAC system will greet Deerfield H.S. students this fall," 9 July 2018 The mechanical systems are above ground to prevent power and heating malfunctions in the event of flooding, and the lobby was built far above the flood plain — luxuries most of the homes in the area can neither adopt nor afford. New York Times, "New Buildings Rise in Flood Zones," 6 July 2018 This stands in stark contrast to the Harley-Davidsons and Moto-Guzzis of the world, which can feel outdated in terms of actual operation, gauges, screens, and mechanical systems but have components with delightful heft and grittiness. Fortune, "Is the Bigger, Beefier Ducati Scrambler 1100 the One for You?," 27 June 2018 The ash can be sucked into jet engines, jamming the mechanical systems. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "There's a code red for Hawaii volcano because falling ash, vog could harm humans, aircraft," 16 May 2018 The library building will stretch too, but only slightly, into what is now an air shaft full of out-of-date mechanical systems. Justin Davidson, Daily Intelligencer, "This Time, a Much More Promising Attempt to Fix the Frick," 13 Apr. 2018 Today, Americans are driving a larger vehicle fleet more miles than ever as mechanical and electronic complexity have outpaced improved vehicle reliability. Benjamin Preston, Car and Driver, "Wanted: A Shortage of Qualified Automotive Technicians Has Left Service Departments Scrambling To Find New Talent," 22 Mar. 2018 The Columbia class will also feature an electric drive system that promises to be quieter than the mechanical system in place on the Ohio boats. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Navy's Next Missile Submarines Will Have an 'Eye-Watering' Price Tag," 20 Mar. 2018 Denholtz Associates owns the building and expects to complete renovations of the lobby, elevators, exterior and mechanical systems by the end of this quarter. Mary Shanklin,, "Great Escape Room takes first floor in downtown," 1 Mar. 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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Phrases Related to mechanical

mechanical pencil

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Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

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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

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