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me·​chan·​i·​cal mi-ˈka-ni-kəl How to pronounce mechanical (audio)
: of or relating to machinery (see machinery sense 1) or tools
mechanical applications of science
a mechanical genius
mechanical aptitude
: produced or operated by a machine or tool
mechanical power
a mechanical refrigerator
a mechanical saw
: of or relating to manual operations
: of or relating to artisans (see artisan sense 1) or machinists
the mechanical trades
: done as if by machine : seemingly uninfluenced by the mind or emotions : automatic
busy in a leisurely mechanical wayDouglas Stewart
: of or relating to technicalities or petty matters
nor was any capacity shown for anything above a mechanical handling of the matterH. O. Taylor
: relating to, governed by, or in accordance with the principles of mechanics
mechanical energy
: relating to the quantitative relations of force and matter
mechanical pressure of wind on a tower
: 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
mechanically adverb


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: a piece of finished copy consisting typically of type proofs and artwork positioned and mounted for photomechanical reproduction
obsolete : mechanic sense 1
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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Because of a mechanical problem, Friday’s Anchorage Daily News print edition wasn’t delivered to many subscribers on Friday morning. Anchorage Daily News, 8 Sep. 2023 Another of the three chillers suffered a mechanical problem, likely related to the fire, said Jeff Provenzano, the Maryland Stadium Authority’s vice president of facilities. Hayes Gardner, Baltimore Sun, 7 Sep. 2023 Watch aficionados prize mechanical movements over quartz. Jeremy White, WIRED, 6 Sep. 2023 The clatter was more mechanical, as if somewhere deep beneath the waves someone was pecking out a memo on a manual typewriter. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 High mileage is usually an indicator of risk for a lender, and a new loan might not account for unforeseen mechanical issues. Ashley Donohoe, Car and Driver, 2 Sep. 2023 Reimagining the ground floor would also require developers to treat it as more than an afterthought, or not just what can fit into the leftover space once the lobby, elevators, mechanical rooms and structural beams have gone in, said Jodie McLean. Emily Badger, New York Times, 5 Sep. 2023 The construction of the mechanical room would clear the way for the installation of new air-handling system equipment for the north end of the state Capitol. Michael R. Wickline, Arkansas Online, 30 Aug. 2023 Related Story And remember, Big Apple dwellers: Any project in New York that requires moving walls, mechanical, electrical, or plumbing work will most likely require a design-build firm or an architect. ELLE Decor, 30 Aug. 2023
Superb driving position, slick and precise mechanicals. Frank Markus, Car and Driver, 31 Aug. 2023 And the same could be said for the mechanicals, as there’s a lot of familiar hardware under that new sheet metal. Angus MacKenzie, Robb Report, 18 Aug. 2023 The mechanicals remained the same as the previous 4104 model: a 300-hp 7.7-liter V-8, a three-speed automatic transmission, and a curb weight of roughly 7000 pounds. Brendan McAleer, Car and Driver, 20 July 2023 Before mechanicals, these original action pieces relied on sand and a wheel to initiate movement. Brenda Yenke, cleveland, 13 July 2023 The space also offers storage and provides access to the HVAC system and other mechanicals. John R. Ellement,, 5 July 2023 Today's new tech is electrification, and the Zora is a mashup of the ZR-1's mechanicals and the 160-hp electric motor snuggled under the E-Ray's nose. Rich Ceppos, Car and Driver, 13 Apr. 2023 However, this doesn’t mean that mechanicals machines are impossible for beginners—there just may be a few extra steps and a bit more of a learning curve. Brandi Fuller, Better Homes & Gardens, 12 Apr. 2023 An attorney for the county told members of a commission committee last month that Rock Ventures was getting close to completing the center, but still had some interior work and various mechanicals and electricals to do. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, 16 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mechanical.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


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


1600, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near mechanical

Cite this Entry

“Mechanical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: of or relating to machinery
mechanical skill
: made or operated by a machine or machinery
a mechanical toy
: done as if by machine : impersonal
gave a mechanical reply
: relating to or according with the principles of mechanics

Medical Definition


me·​chan·​i·​cal mi-ˈkan-i-kəl How to pronounce mechanical (audio)
: relating to the quantitative relations of force and matter
mechanical pressure exerted by the bubbles in the tissuesH. G. Armstrong
: caused by, resulting from, or relating to physical as opposed to biological or chemical processes or change
mechanical injury
mechanical asphyxiation
mechanically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on mechanical

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