[muh-kan-i-kuh l]
  1. having to do with machinery: a mechanical failure.
  2. being a machine; operated by machinery: a mechanical toy.
  3. caused by or derived from machinery: mechanical propulsion.
  4. using machine parts only.
  5. brought about by friction, abrasion, etc.: a mechanical bond between stones; mechanical erosion.
  6. pertaining to the design, use, understanding, etc., of tools and machinery: the mechanical trades; mechanical ability.
  7. acting or performed without spontaneity, spirit, individuality, etc.: a mechanical performance.
  8. habitual; routine; automatic: Practice that step until it becomes mechanical.
  9. belonging or pertaining to the subject matter of mechanics.
  10. pertaining to, or controlled or effected by, physical forces.
  11. (of a philosopher or philosophical theory) explaining phenomena as due to mechanical action or the material forces of the universe.
  12. subordinating the spiritual to the material; materialistic.
  1. a mechanical object, part, device, etc.
  2. Printing. a sheet of stiff paper on which has been pasted artwork and type proofs for making a printing plate; paste-up.
  3. Obsolete. a skilled manual laborer, as a carpenter or other artisan.

Origin of mechanical

1375–1425; late Middle English, equivalent to mechanic mechanical + -al1; see mechanic
Related formsme·chan·i·cal·ly, adverbme·chan·i·cal·ness, me·chan·i·cal·i·ty, nounnon·me·chan·i·cal, adjectivenon·me·chan·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·me·chan·i·cal·ness, nounqua·si-me·chan·i·cal, adjectivequa·si-me·chan·i·cal·ly, adverbsem·i·me·chan·i·cal, adjectivesu·per·me·chan·i·cal, adjectivesu·per·me·chan·i·cal·ly, adverbun·me·chan·i·cal, adjectiveun·me·chan·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for nonmechanical


  1. made, performed, or operated by or as if by a machine or machinerya mechanical process
  2. concerned with machines or machinery
  3. relating to or controlled or operated by physical forces
  4. of or concerned with mechanics
  5. (of a gesture, etc) automatic; lacking thought, feeling, etc
  6. philosophy accounting for phenomena by physically determining forces
  7. (of paper, such as newsprint) made from pulp that has been mechanically ground and contains impurities
  1. printing another name for camera-ready copy
  2. archaic another word for mechanic (def. 2)
Derived Formsmechanicalism, nounmechanically, adverbmechanicalness, noun
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 nonmechanical



early 15c., "of or pertaining to machines," from mechanic (adj.) + -al (1); of persons or human actions, "resembling machines, automatic" it is from c.1600. Related: Mechanically. Mechanical-minded is recorded from 1820.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nonmechanical in Medicine


  1. Operated or produced by a mechanism or machine.
  2. Relating to, produced by, or dominated by physical forces.
  3. Interpreting and explaining the phenomena of the universe by referring to causally determined material forces; mechanistic.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.