Definition of mechanism in English:


Syllabification: mech·an·ism
Pronunciation: /ˈmekəˌnizəm


  • 2A natural or established process by which something takes place or is brought about: we have no mechanism for assessing the success of forwarded inquiries the mechanism by which genes build bodies
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    • 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.
  • 2.1A contrivance in the plot of a literary work: his Irma La Douce is a musical based on the farce mechanism
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    • The internal struggles of the group are hopelessly dramatised, reading off like the plot mechanisms that they are.
  • 3 Philosophy The doctrine that all natural phenomena, including life and thought, allow mechanical explanation by physics and chemistry.
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    • 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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