mechanism

noun
mech·​a·​nism | \ ˈme-kə-ˌni-zəm \

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

There are no handles or spout on it: The user just rotates the inner mechanism in a clockwise direction and the water appears. Maddie Hiatt, House Beautiful, "This Faucet May Be the Chicest One We've Ever Seen," 1 Feb. 2019 The weight and solidity continue in the actual drive mechanism of the Kickr. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "PM Approved: Kickr Smart Bike Trainer," 29 Jan. 2019 While biology class might fill you in on the specific changes, this study looks more at the mechanisms of that change. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Research Looks at Why Puberty Happens in Teen Years," 3 Jan. 2019 On the rear of the same slider is the phone’s dual-camera system, and the lenses are also protected by the mechanism. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "2018 was a weird notch year — what’s next?," 18 Dec. 2018 Point the nozzle away from you and release the locking mechanism. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "No, Water Won't Put Out a Grease Fire, But This Will," 20 Nov. 2018 The evaluation is designed to pinpoint the underlying mechanisms that Bredesen believes are the root causes behind cognitive decline. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle," 16 Nov. 2018 This episode delves into the coping mechanisms that Toby developed in childhood in order to deal with his parents’ arguing and his mom’s own depression. Emma Dibdin, Country Living, "'This Is Us' Reveals the Heartbreaking Promise Miguel Made to Jack Before He Died," 24 Oct. 2018 The Flying Dinosaur ride at Universal Japan came to an abrupt halt Tuesday when the safety mechanism was activated after detecting something was wrong, leaving 64 passengers dangling face down for up to two hours. Michelle Gant, Fox News, "'World's fastest' hybrid roller coaster in Ohio shuts down on opening day after two cars collide," 2 Oct. 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

12 Feb 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 \

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 \

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 \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on mechanism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mechanism

Spanish Central: Translation of mechanism

Nglish: Translation of mechanism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mechanism for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mechanism

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