Meaning of MACHINE in English

I. məˈshēn noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle French, from Latin machina, from Greek (Doric dialect) machana (Attic mēchanē ), from (Doric dialect) machos means, expedient (Attic mēchos ) — more at may


a. archaic : a structure or constructed thing whether material or immaterial : erection , handiwork


(1) archaic : ship , boat

(2) : conveyance , vehicle

brought his machine to a halt with a flourish

c. obsolete : appliance , device

d. archaic : a military engine (as a siege tower or catapult)

e. : any of various apparatuses formerly used in the production of theatrical stage effects


(1) : an assemblage of parts that are usually solid bodies but include in some cases fluid bodies or electricity in conductors and that transmit forces, motion, and energy one to another in some predetermined manner and to some desired end (as for sewing a seam, printing a newspaper, hoisting a load, or maintaining an electric current)

(2) : an instrument (as a lever) designed to transmit or modify the application of power, force, or motion

(3) : a mechanical device of the particular kind relevant or under consideration

run up the seams on the machine

(4) Britain : a power-driven printing press

in the printing office the hand press is spoken of as the “press” and the machine press as the “ machine ” — John Southward


a. : a living organism or one of its functional systems

the intricate hearing machine of the bat

: bodily mechanism — used especially when the whole is thought of as a system of more or less mechanically interacting parts

disease alters the balance of the human machine

b. : a person or organization that acts like a machine especially in responding automatically and without intelligence or feeling or as though responding mechanically to activating stimuli

thought of the lower animals as mere machines without sense or sensibility

making machines of men


(1) : a combination of persons acting together (as for a common end) together with the agencies they use

the entire social machine

building a powerful war machine

(2) : a highly organized group that, under the leadership of a boss or a small clique, controls the policies and activities of a political party especially for private rather than for public ends

3. : a literary device or contrivance (as a supernatural agency) introduced for dramatic effect ; also : an agency so introduced


machine , engine , apparatus , appliance signify, in common, a device, often complex, for doing work beyond human physical or mental limitations or faster than human hand or mind. machine applies to a construction or organization whose parts are so connected and interrelated that it can be set in motion and perform work as a unit

those most practical machines of our modern life, the dynamo and the telephone — Havelock Ellis

calculators, billers, duplicators, and other business machines

the finest machine in the world is useless without a motor to drive it — C.C.Furnas

was by no means a cold and calculating thinking machine — W.L.Sperry

Although in an earlier and still common use engine can signify any device or contrivance to multiply force or speed

metal-wheeled chariots … soon appeared as the newest and most powerful engines of war — R.W.Murray

television, our newest and potentially greatest engine of enlightenment — Gilbert Seldes

more generally engine applies to a particular kind of machine, usually one which turns one form of physical power into another more useful, sometimes, however, applying to both a power-generating unit and the total working unit moved by the power unit

gasoline engines

airplane engines

these engines were built to pump out mines — C.F.Kettering & Allen Orth

a fire engine

a steam engine pulling a hundred cars

apparatus is more general than the other words, applying to any more or less complicated mechanism or unit of organization for effecting a given work, whose parts may be many or few, delicate or crude

apparatus (heavy generators, transformers, etc) — Time

substances such as glass, crystal, and flint are linked with apparatuses of one kind or another (compasses, barometers, spectrums, and hourglasses) — Louise Bogan

a table … covered with his writing apparatus — Osbert Sitwell

a professional historical journal … equipped with an apparatus of footnotes — Times Literary Supplement

the pipes, fixtures, and other apparatus inside buildings for bringing in the water supply and removing the liquid and water-borne wastes — Water & Sewage Control Engineering

appliance is often interchangeable with apparatus but usually designates a simple useful machine the power for which can be supplied readily, commonly, therefore, suggesting the electrical appliance

sometimes a bow is drawn with the assistance of the feet, or of a ring-handled dagger, or other appliance — Notes & Queries on Anthropology

among those appliances reflecting the greatest sales increases were driers and freezers — Dun's Review

vacuum cleaners and home appliances

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

transitive verb

1. : to subject to or produce or finish by the action of machinery: as

a. : to turn, shape, plane, mill, or otherwise reduce or finish (as a metal blank or casting) by machine-operated cutting tools

b. Britain : to print with a power-driven press

2. : to fashion as if by machinery : cause to conform to a fixed pattern : standardize

intransitive verb

: to be machinable

brass machines easily

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.