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

Some modes of birth control have both estrogen and progestin, making use of all of these mechanisms. Natasha Lavender, SELF, "Here's How Emergency Contraception Actually Works," 1 Apr. 2019 The incident was similar to one that took the lives of 72-year-old Texan James Rogers and his dog in 2015, when they got stuck in a Corvette that uses the same type of door mechanism as the XLR. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "75-year-old Cleveland man gets trapped in car for 13 hours after power locks fail," 12 Sep. 2018 An alarm was triggered on the M/V Woods Hole’s starboard propeller Monday, and workers replaced a part of the mechanism later that day, according to the agency. Jeremy C. Fox, BostonGlobe.com, "Steamship Authority cancels ferry trips on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket routes," 10 July 2018 And once such social organizations develop, what kinds of mechanisms sustain these new societies sufficiently to develop into cities of the ancient world? Charles Stanish, Smithsonian, "How Feasting Rituals Help Shape Human Civilization," 5 July 2018 Consequently, some researchers assume that problematic gaming might share some of the same neurobiological mechanisms as pathological gambling and substance dependence. Melissa Healy, Washington Post, "World Health Organization says video game addiction is a disease. Why American psychiatrists don’t," 2 July 2018 Gets good rotation, high release, more of a flick mechanism than a smooth shot. Ben Ladner, SI.com, "Trail Blazers Select Anfernee Simons With No. 24 Pick in 2018 NBA Draft," 21 June 2018 Consequently, some researchers assume that problematic gaming might share some of the same neurobiological mechanisms as pathological gambling and substance dependence. Melissa Healy, ajc, "World Health Organization says video game addiction is a disease," 20 June 2018 Better knowledge of the mechanisms driving these explosions will make these measurements even more precise, Wells says. NBC News, "5 ways the world's fastest supercomputer could change the world," 18 June 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

9 Apr 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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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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