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

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 multilateral COVAX Facility remains the best mechanism for reaching the world's poorest countries with COVID-19 vaccines. Sarah Ferguson, Forbes, 3 June 2021 With the relationship becoming more competitive, Beijing sees the mechanism as a stabilizer to reduce chances of conflict. Lingling Wei, WSJ, 2 June 2021 The quick-release switch and reversible mechanism help you with easy operation. Chris Hachey, BGR, 2 June 2021 But there is an even more shocking possibility that is being entertained by a growing and diverse cadre of Ph.D.s: animals and ciliates do use the same mechanism. Jennifer Frazer, Scientific American, 28 May 2021 The first mechanism for doing so is ensuring voting rights for the poor and people of color. Jeffrey D. Sachs, CNN, 25 May 2021 If such an allergic reaction occurs during the study, investigators will examine the biological mechanism behind the reactions and whether a genetic pattern or other factors can predict who is at most risk. Anna Kuchment, Dallas News, 14 May 2021 Many viruses can cause smell loss, and the covid-19 mechanism is not completely understood. Washington Post, 14 May 2021 Their paper, co-authored with colleagues Harrison Winch and Jagjit Singh Sidhu, examines the mechanism by which macros might trigger lightning, as well as several other novel means for searching for evidence of macros. Dan Falk, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for mechanism

Time Traveler

The first known use of mechanism was in 1662

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Statistics for mechanism

Last Updated

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mechanism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mechanism. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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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 mechanism (audio) \ adjective

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