Definition of mechanical in English:



  • 1Operated by a machine or machinery.

    ‘a mechanical device’
    • ‘The pneumatic pump operated the mechanical heart and sustained Clark for 112 days.’
    • ‘The research marks the first time an animal has been able to use brain power alone to operate a mechanical object.’
    • ‘His machines included mechanical devices for dredging, a mill to pump water and a device to pull ships over obstacles.’
    • ‘The researchers took their inspiration from mechanical walking toys that automatically stroll down a slope in response to gravity.’
    • ‘This is characteristic of the typewriter, a mechanical device.’
    • ‘The mechanical cooler operates on principles similar to a modern home refrigerator.’
    • ‘He cannot even walk on his own and he is barely kept alive by a variety of mechanical devices.’
    • ‘A ratchet is a mechanical device that restricts movement in one direction and allows movement in the opposite direction.’
    • ‘The mechanical gadget is operated by a spring which has to be cranked using a key.’
    • ‘It was the first low-cost, mass-marketed mechanical toothbrush.’
    • ‘This technology entails the construction of very tiny mechanical devices coupled to electrical sensors and actuators.’
    • ‘Police are investigating the incident involving a worker operating a mechanical street sweeper who was stopped by a gang of about eight youths.’
    • ‘Although we can envisage building tiny machines, examples put forward to date tend to be versions of mechanical devices: gear wheels and the like.’
    • ‘The mini mechanical sweeper operates on a daily basis in and around the pedestrian area and the mid city streets.’
    • ‘The warm hand of the farmer has long been replaced by the cold, mechanical suction of an automated milking system.’
    • ‘Much of the pleasure of real pinball comes from the physical interaction with a big, mechanical device and heavy ball bearings.’
    • ‘A variety of purely mechanical devices were used from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries to increase the size and capacity of the ear to conduct sound.’
    • ‘Each apartment includes mechanical ventilation for automatic exhaust of stale air.’
    • ‘Accelerometers are mechanical devices that respond to acceleration.’
    • ‘We can expect that all valves, all mechanical devices, whatever they are, are going to have a failure at some stage.’
    1. 1.1Relating to machines or machinery.
      ‘the helicopters are prone to mechanical failure’
      • ‘It was very frustrating, but eventually I learned about the engine falling off, so I chalked it up to mechanical failure.’
      • ‘Accident investigators said there was no evidence of any mechanical failure and said the bus was travelling within the 40 mph speed limit.’
      • ‘Repair records showed that levels of mechanical damage to devices from the ward were higher than normal.’
      • ‘To avoid any mechanical failure in so complex a piece of machinery as well as avoid all potential accidents is remarkable.’
      • ‘No measure of mechanical failure or infection was reported.’
      • ‘What ought to be a routine mechanical operation has become an altogether more difficult and complicated affair.’
      • ‘It is not known if the helicopter was shot down or suffered mechanical problems, or if there were casualties.’
      • ‘The wreckage is also likely to be examined to see if there was any mechanical failure with a particular focus on brakes and wheels.’
      • ‘The report concluded that although there was still a problem with the warning system for the landing gear, pilot error rather than mechanical failure was to blame for the crash.’
      • ‘And mechanical failure such as steering or suspension breakage could have you singing with the angels in seconds.’
      • ‘Any sabotage or mechanical failures would cause power cuts in Britain within days.’
      • ‘Oil contamination would result from neglect of compressor maintenance, leading to mechanical failure.’
      • ‘To avoid failure because of mechanical problems, NASA carried out an extensive system design and test program.’
      • ‘Generally speaking, ensuing loss as a result of a breakdown is covered, but the mechanical failure itself isn't.’
      • ‘A Brazilian government report on the accident blamed poor maintenance for a series of mechanical failures that led to the explosion.’
      • ‘A mechanical failure of the train's brake cylinder was at fault on that occasion.’
      • ‘While hard disks have evolved over time, there is still always the danger of mechanical failure and the subsequent loss of all data on the drive.’
      • ‘Freeze protection is a mechanical feature on exterior garden faucets.’
      • ‘Aviation safety experts have been analyzing data on the incident to determine if the cause was pilot error, weather or mechanical failure.’
      • ‘The hallway stretched out before her, an infinite tunnel of grey sterility and mechanical deprivation.’
  • 2(of an action) done without thought or spontaneity; automatic.

    ‘she stopped the mechanical brushing of her hair’
    • ‘But are birds unfeeling, mechanical songsters, driven to sing but never understanding what it is they do?’
    • ‘Pearls of wisdom leave our mouths every day in an unthinking and mechanical manner.’
    • ‘Cora's sword never stopped moving, her movement automatic and mechanical.’
    • ‘The algorithms ran their determined courses, and our thoughts followed one after another, as mechanical and as predictable as the planets in their orbits.’
    • ‘In a mechanical motion, Adam tipped the bottles over the glasses and a steady stream of foamy beer poured into them.’
    • ‘He looked firmly at the villagers, who were heaping piles of straw around the lion with mechanical motions, as if they were going to burn it.’
    • ‘Most curious of all was the fact that he made the same mechanical gestures no matter what he was saying.’
    • ‘Deep in concentration Em hung her keys on the wall and walked to the kitchen, where she grabbed an apple, all in mechanical motions.’
    • ‘Everything I had been doing in the past was too mechanical, too forced.’
    • ‘Albert, Jr., I think, is a little too mechanical, not as spontaneous as he ought to be.’
    • ‘Again, hesitation overwhelmed Adam but, out of mechanical instinct, he took the hand.’
    • ‘Tora brushed it off, but her words had sounded so mechanical it looked as though Tora had practiced saying them over and over again.’
    • ‘Consequently, sex routinely becomes mechanical, unfeeling, and unfulfilling.’
    automatic, machine-like, unthinking, unemotional, unconscious, involuntary, instinctive, routine, matter-of-fact, habitual, inattentive
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  • 3Relating to physical forces or motion; physical.

    ‘the smoothness was the result of mechanical abrasion’
    • ‘The disc is subjected to varying mechanical forces at all times.’
    • ‘When a propeller produces thrust, aerodynamic and mechanical forces are present that cause the blade to vibrate.’
    • ‘Automakers can run a car using electronics more easily and economically than mechanical forces.’
    • ‘Those experiments were conducted in the absence of the mechanical forces that may act on molecules during function in vivo.’
    • ‘One factor of potential importance in disease progression that is frequently overlooked is the role of mechanical forces.’
    • ‘Thus the weight of evidence points to local mechanical forces.’
    • ‘To understand morphogenesis we need to look at the mechanical forces that cells can exert and the underlying cellular properties that generate these forces.’
    • ‘Most lesions can be managed conservatively by the use of properly fitting shoes and padding to redistribute mechanical forces.’
    • ‘The regulation of adhesion site development is largely determined by mechanical force.’
    • ‘One is therefore compelled to conclude that mechanical forces play a role in the progressive nature of the disease.’
    • ‘Because it has a blood supply, the skeleton remodels or responds to mechanical forces throughout life.’
    • ‘First, exercise generates mechanical forces that stimulate bone-building osteoblasts.’
    • ‘They are also less likely to be affected by mechanical forces or changes in the environment over their period of growth.’
    • ‘That's because the fluids are held in place by capillary forces that overpower gravity and other mechanical forces.’
    • ‘It may be that the mechanical forces were unavoidable?’
    • ‘This applies not just to the generation of mechanical motion but to areas such as energy generation, sensors, and information processing.’
    • ‘Beyond a short distance from the source of disturbance, mechanical motions in solids propagate as one of four elastic waves.’
    • ‘Turbine-generators and generator sets are devices that convert mechanical into electrical energy.’
    • ‘You don't have to worry about magnetic fields, mechanical shock, spontaneous bit-rot or anything else.’
    • ‘When the opening fork encounters such a protein during mechanical unzipping, force increases until the protein is ejected.’
    1. 3.1archaic (of a theory) explaining phenomena in terms only of physical processes.
      • ‘Moreover, Descartes's mechanical philosophy was ultimately no different from all other forms of atomism.’
      • ‘As a philosopher he was inspired by Descartes, Spinoza, and Hobbes, but broke away from Descartes's mechanical conception of the universe.’
      • ‘However, as he studied the mechanical philosophy of Descartes he became unhappy with it.’
      • ‘So the stark ontology of the mechanical philosopher is established a priori by appealing to a notion of intelligibility.’
      • ‘He explained the mechanical principle of the screw as a form of wedge, and he set out the mathematical characteristics of the helix.’
    2. 3.2archaic Relating to mechanics as a science.
      • ‘This is because he would have been kept alive by mechanical science rather than nature.’
      • ‘Archytas, the inventor of mechanical science, was a friend and correspondent of Plato.’
      • ‘He received a doctorate in aerospace and mechanical sciences from Princeton University in 1967.’
      • ‘As both the reflection of mechanical science and a divine creation, nature was an analogue for knowledge.’
      • ‘No matter how complex a mechanical or engineering problem he proposed, Bryce found a solution within minutes.’
  • 4Relating to the exclusive legal right to reproduce a particular recorded version of a song or piece of music.

    ‘mechanical copyright’
    ‘mechanical royalties’
    • ‘The argument about whether the mechanical copyright (the copyright covering the actual sound recording) should be extended in the UK was always going to be resolved from a European Perspective, and the EU has now taken the lead and voted on the way forward.’
    • ‘These stamps were issued to show the pre-payment of mechanical copyright royalties due under various Copyright Acts and General Regulations.’


  • 1The working parts of a vehicle.

    ‘a major overhaul of the mechanicals’
    • ‘It's really basically like taking the mechanicals of the Volkswagen Golf and putting them into something more fun.’
    • ‘These mechanicals were clothed in a well proportioned five-door body which received a slight facelift this spring.’
    • ‘But the car's styling is as important as its mechanicals.’
    • ‘Simply a sensational body styling exercise over some fabulous mechanicals.’
    • ‘All located in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, they are not only close geographically but they are also notoriously tough on the mechanicals.’
    • ‘In addition to the high number of vents featured on the rally cars, what else is it possible for you to do to keep the mechanicals cool during the hotter events?’
    • ‘We'll have to check the mechanicals on the door.’
    • ‘Although the stack itself is free of moving parts, an examination of the mechanicals of a near-complete Focus FCV reveals a very complex machine.’
    • ‘The space underneath the car was also freed up for other mechanicals such as exhaust systems which can otherwise intrude into luggage or passenger areas.’
    • ‘The mechanicals and build are impeccable, and the design still looks elegant.’
    • ‘The key ingredient of the VW-Bentley and the Ford-Jaguar remains the platform, the expensive below-the-waist mechanicals, so the more of them you make, the cheaper they are.’
    • ‘That said, rally car mechanicals will never be an exact science.’
    • ‘But the Ford V8 had its limitations, as did the chassis, so he set about designing his own mechanicals.’
    • ‘All-wheel-drive systems typically have lighter and more compact mechanicals that are perfectly suited for passenger cars.’
    • ‘Out on the roads they'll be impressed too by the revised, reworked and rebuilt mechanicals.’
    • ‘And with anything that invites enjoyment, it's wise to check the condition of the mechanicals for signs of abuse.’
    • ‘The money goes into the mechanicals, the fundamentals, the bits that really matter.’
    • ‘While much of the tough mechanicals are under the skin, the tires give the game away.’
    • ‘Although the central nose section does look like the thin nose of modern F1 cars, it is the mechanicals under the rear engine cover and the drivetrain which are the most interesting.’
    • ‘Sometimes, the concept cars actually have mechanicals beneath their handcrafted skin.’
  • 2archaic A manual worker.

    ‘rude mechanicals’
    • ‘I would be doing another role as well: Tom Snout, one of the rude mechanicals in A Midsummer Night's Dream.’
    • ‘The mechanicals in Midsummer were slow and dull, indulging in endless, random byplay rather than the specific actions called for in the text.’
    • ‘The mechanicals are perfectly hapless, clumsy and inept and John Ramm as Bottom makes a brilliant ass of himself.’
    • ‘The presence of the rude mechanicals who put on a play for their duke gives the audience a comical but telling image of theatre as a vital form of social exchange.’
    • ‘The mechanicals are all dressed in realistic nineteenth century working men's dress.’
    employee, member of staff, working man, working woman, workman, labourer, hand, operative, operator
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Late Middle English (describing an art or occupation concerned with the construction of machines): via Latin from Greek mēkhanikos (see mechanic)+ -al.