• synonyms


noun, plural ma·chin·er·ies.
  1. an assemblage of machines or mechanical apparatuses: the machinery of a factory.
  2. the parts of a machine, collectively: the machinery of a watch.
  3. a group of people or a system by which action is maintained or by which some result is obtained: the machinery of government.
  4. a group of contrivances for producing stage effects.
  5. the group or aggregate of literary machines, especially those of supernatural agency (epic machinery) in an epic poem.
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Origin of machinery

First recorded in 1680–90; machine + -ery
Related formsan·ti·ma·chin·er·y, adjective


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for machineries

Historical Examples

  • She dwelt in a strange realm of unknown colors and machineries.

    We Can't Have Everything

    Rupert Hughes

  • I told them the wonderful arts, the machineries, railways and the telegraphs.

  • These machineries are all the inventions of a single age, and constitute a new era in human Society.

    Abolition a Sedition

    Geo. W. Donohue

  • But the Greek machineries of social life were absolutely and essentially limited by nature to a Grecian latitude.

British Dictionary definitions for machineries


noun plural -eries
  1. machines, machine parts, or machine systems collectively
  2. a particular machine system or set of machines
  3. a system similar to a machinethe machinery of government
  4. literary devices used for effect in epic poetry
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for machineries



1680s; from machine (n.) + -ery. Originally theatrical, "devices for creating stage effects" (which also was a sense of Greek mekhane); meaning "machines collectively" is attested from 1731. Middle English had machinament "a contrivance" (early 15c.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper