me·​chan·​i·​cal | \ mi-ˈka-ni-kəl How to pronounce mechanical (audio) \

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 : a piece of finished copy consisting typically of type proofs and artwork positioned and mounted for photomechanical reproduction
2 obsolete : mechanic sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from mechanical


mechanically \ mi-​ˈka-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce mechanically (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for mechanical

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

  • nonmechanical
Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Adjective 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Businesses, including many in Ohio, stepped up to make everything from face masks to parts for mechanical ventilators. Evan Macdonald, cleveland, "7 takeaways from a Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit dominated by coronavirus," 7 Oct. 2020 Patients there clung to life on mechanical ventilators, a dispiriting few showing signs of recovery. Michael M. Phillips And Brianna Abbott, WSJ, "In a Year of Bad Days, This Was One of the Worst," 25 Sep. 2020 Clinicians also began to try other treatments, waiting longer to deploy mechanical ventilators. Washington Post, "Britain mounted a heroic effort to build ventilators. But it never needed them.," 14 Aug. 2020 The mortality rate for patients on mechanical ventilators can be up to 50%. Amanda Morris, The Arizona Republic, "Doctors need something besides remdesivir to treat COVID-19. What is it and who gets it?," 3 Aug. 2020 In the early days of the pandemic, the thought was to put patients on mechanical ventilators sooner rather than later, but the treatment was not as effective as originally hoped. Eric Levenson, CNN, "These California doctors flew to New York to fight Covid-19. Here's what they learned.," 11 July 2020 For the first time, agency officials said pregnant women with covid-19 may face a higher risk of hospitalization and treatment in intensive care units and respiratory help with a mechanical ventilator. Anchorage Daily News, "CDC chief says coronavirus cases may be 10 times higher than reported," 26 June 2020 For patients with severe breathing problems, the Italian doctors were using a type of therapy called high flow nasal oxygen, a much less invasive approach than putting a patient on a mechanical ventilator. NBC News, "What ICU doctors have learned about COVID-19 — and how they're prepared for a 2nd wave," 16 Apr. 2020 This year’s blazes have taxed the human, mechanical and financial resources of the nation’s wildfire-fighting forces to an extraordinary degree. Matthew Brown, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Nothing left in the bucket’: Resources run thin for wildland firefighters in Western states," 16 Sep. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of mechanical


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


1600, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mechanical

Time Traveler for mechanical

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for mechanical

Last Updated

14 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mechanical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mechanical


How to pronounce mechanical (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mechanical

: of or relating to machinery
: having or using machinery
disapproving : happening or done without thought or without any effort to be different or interesting


me·​chan·​i·​cal | \ mi-ˈka-ni-kəl How to pronounce mechanical (audio) \

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 How to pronounce mechanical (audio) \

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 How to pronounce mechanically (audio) \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!