mechanism

noun
mech·​a·​nism | \ ˈme-kə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce mechanism (audio) \

Definition of mechanism

1a : a piece of machinery (see machinery sense 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 sense 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 tornadoesThink — compare defense mechanism

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Examples of mechanism in a Sentence

The camera's shutter mechanism is broken. Scientists are studying the body's mechanisms for controlling weight. There is no mechanism in place for enforcing the new law. a legal mechanism to prevent lobbyists from exerting unfair influence psychological mechanisms for dealing with a tragic loss
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Civil Rights Act, which among other enforcement mechanisms tied federal education funding to school integration, dramatically changed that: by 1970, more than 90% of black children attended schools that also taught white children. The Economist, "Why America lost so many of its black teachers," 8 July 2019 But at the heart of the contention are wind projects commissioned in 2015 and 2016 using feed-in-tariff mechanism, in which the state sets the price of electricity. Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, "A southern state has dealt India’s renewable energy industry a fresh blow," 5 July 2019 Research suggests that some microbial strains in topical probiotics can improve the skin’s protective mechanisms, impede inflammation, and inhibit the P. acnes bacteria that causes breakouts. Jenn Sinrich, SELF, "5 Signs You're Dealing with Hormonal Acne—and How to Treat It," 2 July 2019 There’s also no real enforcement mechanism in place. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "Microsoft's Ebook Apocalypse Shows the Dark Side of DRM," 30 June 2019 According to Wilson and Gervais, the two forms of laughter, and the neural mechanisms behind them, evolved at different times. Giovanni Sabato, Scientific American, "What’s So Funny? The Science of Why We Laugh," 26 June 2019 The commitment contains no enforcement mechanism if a state or province doesn’t do its part in helping improve water quality. Laura Hancock, cleveland.com, "Gov. DeWine recommits Ohio to 40% reduction of phosphorus in Lake Erie," 17 June 2019 The visual cortex is one of the brain's most complex mechanisms, comprised of hundreds of millions of neurons. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Study: If You Played Pokémon As a Kid, You Have Pokémon Brain As an Adult," 14 June 2019 The act, put in place by the Trump administration last year, gives congress the ability place budget enforcement mechanisms that mandate specific budgetary policies or fiscal outcomes. Lily Jackson | Ljackson@al.com, al.com, "Auburn University plans to weather decreases in federal funding," 11 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of mechanism

1662, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for mechanism

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mechanism

The first known use of mechanism was in 1662

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More Definitions for mechanism

mechanism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of mechanism

: 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

noun
mech·​a·​nism | \ ˈme-kə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce mechanism (audio) \

Kids Definition of mechanism

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

mechanism

noun
mech·​a·​nism | \ ˈmek-ə-ˌniz-əm How to pronounce mechanism (audio) \

Medical Definition of mechanism

1 : a piece of machinery
2a : 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

Other Words from mechanism

mechanistic \ ˌmek-​ə-​ˈnis-​tik How to pronounce mechanistic (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on mechanism

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