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

Feeling apprehensive about something stressful—even a good thing, like a promotion or wedding—is a sign that your inherent survival mechanism is working as expected. Natasha Lavender, SELF, "This Is the Difference Between Feeling Anxious and Having an Anxiety Disorder," 16 May 2019 This is one serious piece of engineering: The designers went back to basics and reimagined nearly every component and mechanism of an umbrella. Ann Lien, House Beautiful, "Here's the Last Umbrella You'll Ever Buy," 4 Apr. 2019 So far, two mechanisms have been used to change the resistance. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Researchers make RAM from a phase change we don’t entirely understand," 18 Dec. 2018 Bredesen has identified more than three dozen mechanisms that amplify the biological processes that drive the disease. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle," 16 Nov. 2018 Coming up with a system, an early-detection mechanism that will tell us where the areas are that looks like food security might be an issue. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Big data could ‘stop famines from ever happening again,’ says World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim," 24 Sep. 2018 Beyond the broad appeal and interesting mechanisms, the most intriguing aspect of the game is the psychological element. Charlie Theel, Ars Technica, "KeyForge: The red-hot card game where every deck is unique—and unchangeable," 15 Dec. 2018 Extreme heat, high humidity, and atmospheric pressure changes are a few triggers some doctors attribute to this mechanism, Hsinlin Cheng, M.D., director of the Headache and Neuropathic Pain Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. Korin Miller, SELF, "Is It True That the Weather Can Cause a Migraine?," 3 Aug. 2018 The latest compromise calls for Bulgaria to launch a joint application for the Banking Union and the ERM-2 mechanism, known also as the Euro Waiting Room. Julia Rone, Washington Post, "Bulgaria’s turn to lead the Council of the European Union just ended. How did things go?," 5 July 2018

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

21 May 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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