mechanical advantage


: the advantage gained by the use of a mechanism in transmitting force
specifically : the ratio of the force that performs the useful work of a machine to the force that is applied to the machine

Examples of mechanical advantage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The galago is able to manage this thanks to a rather clever bit of leg design which uses variable mechanical advantage, leveraging the shape of their leg to amplify the force that their muscles can deliver. IEEE Spectrum, 29 June 2017 Wrenches, pliers, hammers, shovels, and jacks all helped build our world by harnessing the mechanical advantage of leverage. Popular Mechanics, 26 Jan. 2023 The mechanical advantage in a hi-lift is a simple lever. Wes Siler, Outside Online, 24 Aug. 2022 Because hydraulic jacks employ two forms of mechanical advantage, their levers can be short. Wes Siler, Outside Online, 24 Aug. 2022 Using a rope to rig up a mechanical advantage was good thinking. Joe Spring, Outside Online, 18 June 2013 Because of that mechanical advantage over the standard deadlift, the sumo deadlift holds a controversial reputation within the strength sports community. Philip Ellis, Men's Health, 28 Apr. 2022 Jim, with a few risky maneuvers and using mechanical advantage to its fullest, reassembled the logs with our help on our foundation. Star Tribune, 25 Mar. 2021 Look for a gambrel with an integrated block and tackle to give a mechanical advantage when lifting heavy game. The Editors, Outdoor Life, 3 Jan. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mechanical advantage.' 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

1852, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mechanical advantage was in 1852

Dictionary Entries Near mechanical advantage

Cite this Entry

“Mechanical advantage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

mechanical advantage

: the ratio of the force that performs the useful work of a machine to the force that is applied to the machine

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