Meaning of MECHANISM in English

ˈmekəˌnizəm noun

( -s )

Etymology: Late Latin mechanisma contrivance, from Greek mēchanē machine + -isma -ism — more at machine


a. : a piece of machinery : a structure of working parts functioning together to produce an effect

the valve mechanism to operate the valve when it is in the engine block — Joseph Heitner

mechanism of a watch

b. : a process or technique for achieving a result sometimes by cooperative effort: as

(1) : a political practice or stratagem

the mechanisms of peace — F.D.Roosevelt

little thought is given to the real mechanism of Communism — Norman Cousins

the political mechanisms normal to a nation at war — R.A.Dahl

(2) : a body process or function

may be important in the mechanism of onset of labor — J.P.Greenhill

(3) : a creative method (as in the arts)

have shown singularly little curiosity about the actual mechanism of poetic inspiration — Herbert Read

(4) : the combination of mental processes by which a result is obtained

the mechanism of invention

especially : mechanism of defense

(5) : a systematic social or economic procedure

banks provide the mechanism which assures the smooth circulation of short-term credits — R.B.Westerfield

2. : mechanical operation or action

he acknowledges nothing besides matter and motion; so that all must be performed either by mechanism or accident — Richard Bentley †1742


a. : nature or a natural process conceived as like a machine or as functioning purely in accordance with mechanical laws

b. : a philosophical doctrine that holds that natural processes and especially the processes of life are mechanically determined and capable of complete explanation by the laws of physics and chemistry — compare teleology , vitalism


a. : the fundamental physical or chemical processes involved in or responsible for an action, reaction, or other natural phenomenon

meteorologists believe that this pressure jump is the mechanism responsible for storms and tornadoes — Think

the complicated mechanism that governs planets and satellites decreed that the moon should slow down — Waldemar Kaempffert

b. : a sequence of steps in a chemical reaction

the most satisfactory evidence for the proposed mechanism of chlorination — G.W.Wheland

there are … many different mechanisms by which catalysts operate — Farrington Daniels & R.A.Alberty

5. : an approach to language study based on an objective methodology in recording and classifying linguistic phenomena on the basis of observable forms — compare mentalism

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