Definition of machine in English:



  • 1An apparatus using mechanical power and having several parts, each with a definite function and together performing a particular task:

    ‘a fax machine’
    • ‘The basic idea of grid computing is several machines working together to amplify their processing power.’
    • ‘But we are suggesting neither that the human race would voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would wilfully seize power.’
    • ‘If you hear the hard disk working furiously and the green light on the front of the computer is very busy, then the machine is performing a task.’
    • ‘Turing proposed that a certain class of abstract machines could perform any ‘mechanical’ computing procedure.’
    • ‘A programme of installation of mechanical grading machines has taken place and machines are functioning in all the major export approved plants.’
    • ‘In setting up the machine for a given task, boxes are connected together so that the desired set of fundamental processes is executed.’
    • ‘Waves over 25 ft high destroyed homes along the Florida coast and a nursing home lost all power meaning desperately-needed oxygen machines could not function.’
    • ‘What are the ultimate limits to the information processing power of computing machines?’
    • ‘The task now is to put together miracle machines in a hurry for a wireless industry that's bet the ranch on 3G.’
    • ‘For large lawn areas the use of mechanically powered aeration or slitting machines is more practical.’
    • ‘The fact that machines perform repetitive tasks better than humans is widely recognized.’
    • ‘A hum was heard from the machine as it powered up to do the task it was asked to do, followed by a soft whirring sound, as it digested the bike's current condition.’
    • ‘Instead they pumped the water which turned the wheels which powered the machines.’
    • ‘Rapid-fire calls over the radio were heard as all of the Apaches performed their assigned tasks like a well-oiled machine.’
    • ‘They all knew the possibilities of tying together low cost machines to create a super-computing power and had seen it done before.’
    • ‘The beets are cut up mechanically into slices in machines resembling giant food processors.’
    • ‘I find that he cannot now perform the machine programming functions which mainly occupied him during his twenty-two years with his former employer.’
    • ‘It's inherently wasteful to have two-ton machines carrying a single person to the store for a quart of milk.’
    • ‘Throughout history, people have been building machines that can perform tasks better than humans.’
    • ‘In 1782, Watt developed a rotary engine that could turn a shaft and drive machinery to power the machines to spin and weave cotton cloth.’
    apparatus, appliance, instrument, tool, utensil, device, unit, contraption, contrivance, gadget, mechanism, engine, motor, lever, pulley
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with modifier] A coin-operated dispenser:
      ‘a cigarette machine’
      • ‘We never ate at Monk's, but we did hang out at the same 7-11 pinball machine corner ever day.’
      • ‘It's an equation the Carr Government hopes to change by upping the tax on bigger clubs, which generate the vast majority of poker machine revenue.’
      • ‘If candy machine builders get too gloomy, they may stop building machines.’
      • ‘Most cash machine robberies are thought to take place after thieves stand close enough to their victim to see their PIN number and how much money they are withdrawing.’
      • ‘Its automatic teller machine network, which currently has 30 machines, is expected to be doubled by March 2000.’
      • ‘Well after last week's spooky coffee machine imbroglio, when both my coffee maker at work, and the one at home, blew up on the same day… it was time to buy replacements.’
      • ‘The company has also provided communications equipment to the Sofia Underground and the Borika national automatic teller machine system.’
      • ‘This could prove extremely useful in these days of cash machine charges, where it helps to belong to more than one bank and gain free access to more than one bank's chain of cash machines.’
      • ‘This was a sad day indeed for the big bad wolf of the banking world, and not just because it must forego those rich pickings it planned to cream off from two billion cash machine transactions a year.’
      • ‘So how do we apply for a grant to get a nicotine patch dispenser machine fitted in the bus shelter?’
      • ‘An overwhelming majority voted for punitive cash machine charges which will hit hardest their poorest customers, those living in rural locations and people on a pension.’
      • ‘The party supported distributing pokie machine money in local communities, but wanted some set aside for a central fund to aid problem gambling.’
      • ‘Mr Davis also suggests that some banks have been guilty of ‘profiteering’ through cash machine charges, and we can only agree.’
      • ‘New groups and cliques are formed due to coffee machine tactics, coffee drinkers with similar tactics go onto form their own splinter groups and stay within that group for life.’
      • ‘While we're so busy with war and beating off drug use, no one seems to worry about the smaller issues like ATM machine surcharges.’
      • ‘Obviously stick with banks offering free cash machine access, and here in Scotland we are fortunate because both the Scottish banks have pledged to maintain a fully free service.’
      • ‘She came to him, literally in a daydream, when he was bored, frustrated and uninspired, working at his father's coffee machine repair shop in Venice.’
      • ‘Banks, building societies and cash machine controllers were also alerted to the error to make sure customers would have enough money to tide them over for Saturday and Sunday.’
      • ‘To use the electric shock machine cost one penny, but friends would join hands so that a number of people could all experience the shock for the same penny.’
      • ‘Everything from social engineering to fun explosives to Coke machine hacks can be found there.’
    2. 1.2technical Any device that transmits a force or directs its application.
      • ‘It seems these little solar powered machines have applications that reach far beyond the motor car.’
      • ‘Physicist Donald Simanek talked about perpetual motion machines and other unworkable devices.’
      • ‘The Enigma machine is an electro-mechanical device for scrambling plain text invented by the Germans in 1918.’
      • ‘In farming, as elsewhere, these forces replace people with machines, a process that increases the minimum efficient size of farm.’
      • ‘The application of useful machines and tools was thus equated with not just material progress but cultural development.’
    3. 1.3 An efficient and well-organized group of powerful people:
      ‘the party's fund-raising is helping it to build a formidable political machine’
      • ‘Twenty million people there face having their lives, homes and families blasted to smithereens by the most powerful military machine in the world.’
      • ‘That is why marketers yearn for word of mouth publicity and powerful media machines long for becoming the talk of the town.’
      • ‘Big city political machines thrive on federal grants and state-granted powers.’
      • ‘The Israelis, they've got one of the most powerful military machines in the world.’
      • ‘He, within that period of time, defeated all of the enemies of France, and built the most powerful military machine in Europe, on the land.’
      • ‘The miners were no angels but the media was blatantly and cynically used as a propaganda machine for the government.’
      • ‘Local government was controlled by one of the most powerful political machines in the nation, and that machine was largely the province of one man.’
      • ‘Now, both political parties from the top are controlled as party machines by Project Democracy, through the Congress.’
      • ‘The Prime Minister, therefore, was the apex of centralized, powerful, political and administrative machines.’
      • ‘For all the claims of ‘control freakery’, the evidence seems to reveal a government machine influenced by a powerful sense of things being out of control.’
      • ‘These bankers, and the interests they are associated with, control the Republican and Democratic Party election machines.’
      • ‘The government has only been able to finance its military machine by slashing spending to education and other essential services.’
      • ‘Suddenly the powerful propaganda machine of the big media concerns was no longer able to achieve the desired affect.’
      • ‘An alliance of the most powerful and violent military machines in the world will never bring peace.’
      • ‘The AFL-CIO is planning an effort modeled on its powerful get-out-the-vote political machine.’
      • ‘His attacks on elite perquisites, and his imperious treatment of subordinates, made him anathema to the powerful party machine.’
      • ‘West Virginia once had some of the nation's mightiest political machines.’
      • ‘The Vancouver event is known for being more grass roots than Toronto's slick show, which morphed into an important marketing machine years ago.’
      • ‘He means the military machine of NATO, multinational companies, and institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.’
      • ‘The army of bus drivers that keep the wheels of the county's public transport machine turning is in need of fresh recruits.’
      organization, system, structure, arrangement, agency, machinery
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 A person who acts with the mechanical efficiency of a machine:
      ‘comedians are more than just laugh machines’
      • ‘There was no stopping the laughing machine and people laughed till their eyes watered and jaws literally ached.’
      • ‘You have in your command four of the most powerful fighting machines ever created, the Genohunter warrior.’


  • Make or operate on with a machine:

    ‘a decoratively machined brass rod’
    • ‘The bottom-water sampler was a slender, reinforced rod with finely machined discs of brass at either end.’
    • ‘Made of brass, it was machined specifically to each caliber chambered in the 99 so that feeding cartridges was smooth, flawless and in a straight line.’
    • ‘The head tube is finished off with the all requisite reinforcing to prevent flaring and a very cool logo machined into it, an open gusset to the down tube and that's about it.’
    • ‘The kit is complete with cutters, handles, extension rods, a breaker bar, brass laps, facing cutters and other nicely machined hunks of metal.’
    • ‘Additional parts may be machined, or ordered from a catalogue, but these expenses are capped, and the final product can't exceed a certain weight or size.’
    • ‘The reel is a six spoke design, but the spokes are in fact the aluminium left after the machining process, and there are 12 weight saving holes machined into the edge of the spool.’
    • ‘In the beginning, multi-faceted objects were machined from solid aluminum and hand-polished by sculptor John Noestheden.’
    • ‘At that time much of the manufacturing equipment needed could not be imported so Scott Bros built the lathes needed for machining the grenades.’
    • ‘At one end, a ball release notch has been precisely machined, at a specific distance from the other end, which is tapered to allow the ball run off.’
    • ‘The company operates one of the largest laser machining centers in the world, according to Jeff Miller, laser R & D manager.’
    • ‘It's got a surgical steel, triple-tumbler combination lock machined right into the kneecap, just set right into the sucker.’
    • ‘Kalyani's Bharat Forge - which supplies high value added products like machined crankshafts and connecting rods - already has a niche in the Chinese market.’
    • ‘Of course brass is easy to machine, but the tooling is first-rate.’
    • ‘The coupler body and the fiber mount were machined from a 1.5 inch diameter brass bar.’
    • ‘It's a big step, as OEMs traditionally have machined connecting rods themselves.’
    • ‘It involved breaking down a complex manufacturing job into small, easily repeated operations using parts machined so closely as to be interchangeable.’
    • ‘Prior to fracturing, the boltholes are machined in Operation 20.’


Mid 16th century (originally denoting a structure): from French, via Latin from Doric Greek makhana ( Greek mēkhanē, from mēkhos contrivance).