View synonyms for mechanism


[ mek-uh-niz-uhm ]


  1. an assembly of moving parts performing a complete functional motion, often being part of a large machine; linkage.
  2. the agency or means by which an effect is produced or a purpose is accomplished.
  3. machinery or mechanical appliances in general.
  4. the structure or arrangement of parts of a machine or similar device, or of anything analogous.
  5. the mechanical part of something; any mechanical device:

    the mechanism of a clock.

  6. routine methods or procedures; mechanics:

    the mechanism of government.

  7. mechanical execution, as in painting or music; technique.
  8. the theory that everything in the universe is produced by matter in motion; materialism. Compare dynamism ( def 1 ), vitalism ( def 1 ).
  9. Philosophy.
    1. the view that all natural processes are explicable in terms of classical mechanics.
    2. the view that all biological processes may be described in physicochemical terms.
  10. Psychoanalysis. the habitual operation and interaction of psychological forces within an individual that assist in interpreting or dealing with the physical or psychological environment.


/ ˈmɛkəˌnɪzəm /


  1. a system or structure of moving parts that performs some function, esp in a machine
  2. something resembling a machine in the arrangement and working of its parts

    the mechanism of the ear

  3. any form of mechanical device or any part of such a device
  4. a process or technique, esp of execution

    the mechanism of novel writing

  5. philosophy
    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 determinism Compare dynamism vitalism
  6. psychoanal
    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

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Other Words From

  • mecha·nismic adjective
  • anti·mechan·ism noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of mechanism1

First recorded in 1655–65; from New Latin mēchanismus; Late Latin mēchanisma “contrivance,” from Greek mēchan(ḗ) machine + New Latin -ismus, Late Latin -isma -ism

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Example Sentences

Europe’s busiest airport hub, London Heathrow, is working on a testing mechanism and industry executives are lobbying the British government to replace quarantines with virus tests as a means of screening arriving travelers from high-risk countries.

From Fortune

One is that we have to ensure that voting mechanisms are in place.

From Digiday

These are the types of mechanisms that explain why you remember salient events.

This makes it unusual, as it will allow physicists to study this new binding mechanism in detail.

By shutting down its brain and any sensory channels, they could determine whether a mechanism in the larvae generated Lévy walks in the absence of information about the world.

Farrell issued a ticket to an 18-year-old shipyard worker for speeding and an improper exhaust mechanism, according to the TP.

Franck has not, as they say, spelled out a mechanism by which this could happen.

The “tapping” mechanism is similar, like tapping someone on the shoulder via the Internet.

I mean, I recognize the mechanism; I know what it is as opposed to everything else.

It is also used as a mechanism of revenge after a couple parts ways.

The wheezy, crazy mechanism of the car went to bits in unexpected places.

In the same way the technical form and mechanism of production were presumed to respond to an automatic stimulus.

The attempt at social change threatens a social revolution in which the whole elaborate mechanism would burst into fragments.

The marvelous improvements in mechanism and tone production and control in 1886 to 1913 by Robt.

The reader may judge of the perfection of mechanism in this plain-looking engine from the fact that a pole, with 150 lbs.