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

In the two YouTube videos exhumed from the past by Butler and posted on the Internet for the world to see, Saban provides in exacting detail the mechanisms of his pass defense. Rainer Sabin | Rsabin@al.com, al.com, "The genius of Alabama coach Nick Saban found in YouTube classic videos," 5 June 2019 If this sounds like one more mechanism of transgression, that is, of course, the whole idea. David L. Ulin, latimes.com, "Kathryn Scanlan remixes a found diary and T Fleischmann deconstructs a memoir," 5 June 2019 The theorized mechanism of action is Deep Pressure Touch Stimulation, also called DPTS or deep pressure, Justin Scanlan, Ph.D., professor of occupational therapy and mental health clinician-researcher at the University of Sydney, tells SELF. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Do Weighted Blankets Even Do Anything for Anxiety?," 7 May 2019 The team later confirmed that a similar mechanism is likely at play in humans. National Geographic, "Measles vaccines protect against more than just measles. Here's how.," 4 Mar. 2019 The mechanism for that was already in place, and most certainly should stay. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Video replay (VAR) is a joke, and it's making the World Cup worse," 23 June 2018 Those arguing for greater debt relief say the mechanism should be automatic and unconditional. Viktoria Dendrinou, Bloomberg.com, "Greek Debt Talks: the Main Relief Measures Being Considered," 18 June 2018 In the armed conflict, the mines were the most effective mechanism to do damage. Megan Janetsky, Teen Vogue, "Meet the Women Who Detonate Land Mines in Colombia’s Former War Zones," 24 Apr. 2019 Some cities, too, are frustrated with the service, saying there is no mechanism for local politicians to have a dialogue with constituents on the site. New York Times, "Nextdoor Is Betting a Social Network Can Still Be a Platform for Politics," 13 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

18 Jun 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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