[ mek-uh-niz-uh m ]
/ ˈmɛk əˌnɪz əm /


Origin of mechanism

1655–65; < New Latin mēchanismus; Late Latin mēchanisma a contrivance < Greek mēchan(ḗ) machine + New Latin -ismus, Late Latin -isma -ism

Related forms

mech·a·nis·mic, adjectivean·ti·mech·an·ism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mechanism

British Dictionary definitions for mechanism


/ (ˈmɛkəˌnɪzəm) /


a system or structure of moving parts that performs some function, esp in a machine
something resembling a machine in the arrangement and working of its partsthe mechanism of the ear
any form of mechanical device or any part of such a device
a process or technique, esp of executionthe mechanism of novel writing
  1. the doctrine that human action can be explained in purely physical terms, whether mechanical or biological
  2. the explanation of phenomena in causal rather than teleological or essentialist terms
  3. the view that the task of science is to seek such explanations
  4. strict determinismCompare dynamism, vitalism
  1. the ways in which psychological forces interact and operate
  2. a structure having an influence on the behaviour of a person, such as a defence mechanism
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

Medicine definitions for mechanism


[ mĕkə-nĭz′əm ]


The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.