Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Machines or machine parts considered as a group.
  • n. The working parts of a particular machine.
  • n. A system of related elements that operate in a definable manner: diplomatic and political machinery.
  • n. A device or means of achieving or effecting a result.
  • n. A literary device for bringing about an effect, such as a happy ending.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The machines constituting a production apparatus, in a plant etc., collectively.
  • n. The working parts of a machine as a group.
  • n. The collective parts of something which allow it to function.
  • n. The literary devices used in a work, notably for dramatic effect

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Machines, in general, or collectively.
  • n. The working parts of a machine, engine, or instrument.
  • n. The supernatural means by which the action of a poetic or fictitious work is carried on and brought to a catastrophe; in an extended sense, the contrivances by which the crises and conclusion of a fictitious narrative, in prose or verse, are effected.
  • n. The means and appliances by which anything is kept in action or a desired result is obtained; a complex system of parts adapted to a purpose.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The parts of a machine considered collectively; any combination of mechanical means designed to work together so as to effect a given end: as, the machinery of a watch, or of a canal-lock.
  • n. Machines collectively; a congeries or assemblage of machines: as, the machinery of a cotton-mill is often moved by a single wheel.
  • n. Any complex system of means and appliances, not mechanical, designed to carry on any particular work, or keep anything in action, or to effect a specific purpose or end: as, the machinery of government.
  • n. Specifically, the agencies, particularly if supernatural, by which the plot of an epic or dramatic poem, or other imaginative work, is carried on and conducted to the catastrophe.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. machines or machine systems collectively
  • n. a system of means and activities whereby a social institution functions

Etymologies

From French machinerie ("machinery"), from machine ("machine"); see machine. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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