from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A machine or mechanical appliance.
- n. The arrangement of connected parts in a machine.
- n. A system of parts that operate or interact like those of a machine: the mechanism of the solar system.
- n. An instrument or a process, physical or mental, by which something is done or comes into being: "The mechanism of oral learning is largely that of continuous repetition” ( T.G.E. Powell).
- n. A habitual manner of acting to achieve an end.
- n. Biology The involuntary and consistent response of an organism to a given stimulus.
- n. Psychology A usually unconscious mental and emotional pattern that shapes behavior in a given situation or environment: a defense mechanism.
- n. The sequence of steps in a chemical reaction.
- n. Philosophy The doctrine that all natural phenomena are explicable by material causes and mechanical principles.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Within a machine or machinery; any mechanical means for the conversion or control of motion, or the transmission or control of power
- n. Any combination of cams, gears, links, belts, chains and logical mechanical elements
- n. A group of objects or parts that interact together. (as in Political machine)
- n. A mental, physical, or chemical process.
- n. A theory that all natural phenomena can be explained by physical causes.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The arrangement or relation of the parts of a machine; the parts of a machine, taken collectively; the arrangement or relation of the parts of anything as adapted to produce an effect
- n. The series of causal relations that operate to produce an effect in any system.
- n. Mechanical operation or action.
- n. An ideal machine; a combination of movable bodies constituting a machine, but considered only with regard to relative movements.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The structure of a machine, engine, or other contrivance for controlling or utilizing natural forces; the arrangement and relation of parts, or the parts collectively, in any machine, tool, or other contrivance; means of mechanical action; machinery; hence, the structure of anything that is conceived to resemble a machine.
- n. A mechanical contrivance or agency of any kind; in general, the apparatus, means, or mode by which particular effects are produced or purposes accomplished: as, the mechanism of a musical instrument (the apparatus by means of which the performer acts upon it); the mechanism of a play or of a poem; the mechanism of government.
- n. Action according to the laws of mechanics; mechanical action.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. (philosophy) the philosophical theory that all phenomena can be explained in terms of physical or biological causes
- n. device consisting of a piece of machinery; has moving parts that perform some function
- n. a natural object resembling a machine in structure or function
- n. the atomic process that occurs during a chemical reaction
- n. the technical aspects of doing something
New Latin mēchanismus, from Late Latin mēchanisma, from Greek mēkhanē, machine; see mechanic.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin mechanismus, from Greek μηχανή (mekhanē, "machine") (Wiktionary)