mechanism

noun mech·a·nism \ ˈme-kə-ˌni-zəm \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of mechanism

1 a : a piece of machinery (see machinery 1)
  • The camera's shutter mechanism is broken.
b : a process, technique, or system for achieving a result
  • the mechanisms of peace
  • —F. D. Roosevelt
2 : mechanical operation or action : working 2
  • he acknowledges nothing besides matter and motion; so that all must be performed either by mechanism or by accident
  • —Richard Bentley
3 : a doctrine that holds natural processes (as of life) to be mechanically determined and capable of complete explanation by the laws of physics and chemistry
4 : the fundamental processes involved in or responsible for an action, reaction, or other natural phenomenon
  • meteorologists believe that this pressure jump is the mechanism responsible for storms and tornadoes
  • Think
— compare defense mechanism

Examples of mechanism in a Sentence

  1. The camera's shutter mechanism is broken.

  2. Scientists are studying the body's mechanisms for controlling weight.

  3. There is no mechanism in place for enforcing the new law.

  4. a legal mechanism to prevent lobbyists from exerting unfair influence

  5. psychological mechanisms for dealing with a tragic loss

Recent Examples of mechanism from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mechanism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of mechanism

1662

Other Mechanical Engineering Terms



MECHANISM Defined for English Language Learners

mechanism

noun

Definition of mechanism for English Language Learners

  • : a piece of machinery : a mechanical part or group of parts having a particular function

  • : a process or system that is used to produce a particular result

  • : a way of acting, thinking, or behaving that helps or protects a person in a specified way


MECHANISM Defined for Kids

mechanism

noun mech·a·nism \ ˈme-kə-ˌni-zəm \

Definition of mechanism for Students

1 : a piece of machinery
2 : the parts by which a machine operates
  • the mechanism of a watch
3 : the parts or steps that make up a process or activity
  • the mechanism of government

Medical Dictionary

mechanism

noun mech·a·nism \ ˈmek-ə-ˌniz-əm \

medical Definition of mechanism

1 : a piece of machinery
2 a : a bodily process or function
  • the mechanism of healing
b : the combination of mental processes by which a result is obtained
  • psychological mechanisms
3 : the fundamental physical or chemical processes involved in or responsible for an action, reaction, or other natural phenomenon

mechanistic

play \ˌmek-ə-ˈnis-tik\ adjective


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