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mechanism Line breaks: mech|an¦ism
Pronunciation: /ˈmɛk(ə)nɪz(ə)m/

Definition of mechanism in English:


1A system of parts working together in a machine; a piece of machinery: a third motor powers the tape eject mechanism
More example sentences
  • These two holes must be coordinated so the mechanism will properly fit together.
  • The slight hiss is, to my ears, about the same as the tape mechanism in my van - maybe even a bit less.
  • Our clock is a superb piece of engineering, and has a mechanism that is almost identical to Big Ben in London.
informal gizmo
machinery, workings, works, movement, motion, action, gear, gears, wheels, components, motor, engine, power source
informal innards, guts
2A natural or established process by which something takes place or is brought about: the immune system’s mechanism for detecting pathogens
More example sentences
  • It is also of significance in new drug development based on the mechanism of Chinese medicine.
  • It pulverises those delicate social mechanisms that control our baser motives.
  • Rather, they encourage the body's own healing mechanisms to restore its natural equilibrium.
3 [mass noun] Philosophy The doctrine that all natural phenomena, including life and thought, can be explained with reference to mechanical or chemical processes.
Example sentences
  • Much of this controversy stemmed from the argument of mechanism versus vitalism.
  • For Bergson, it is because the scientific pursuit is based on the principle of mechanism.
  • Yet mechanism and postmodernism are linked by a common distrust of human subjectivity.


Mid 17th century: from modern Latin mechanismus, from Greek mēkhanē (see machine).

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