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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.

Origin of machinery

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

Synonyms for machinery

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for machinery


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
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 machinery

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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper