Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Machines or machine parts considered as a group.
  • noun The working parts of a particular machine.
  • noun A system of related elements that operate in a definable manner.
  • noun A device or means of achieving or effecting a result.
  • noun A literary device for bringing about an effect, such as a happy ending.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The parts of a machine considered collectively; any combination of mechanical means designed to work together so as to effect a given end: as, the machinery of a watch, or of a canal-lock.
  • noun Machines collectively; a congeries or assemblage of machines: as, the machinery of a cotton-mill is often moved by a single wheel.
  • noun Any complex system of means and appliances, not mechanical, designed to carry on any particular work, or keep anything in action, or to effect a specific purpose or end: as, the machinery of government.
  • noun Specifically, the agencies, particularly if supernatural, by which the plot of an epic or dramatic poem, or other imaginative work, is carried on and conducted to the catastrophe.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Machines, in general, or collectively.
  • noun The working parts of a machine, engine, or instrument.
  • noun The supernatural means by which the action of a poetic or fictitious work is carried on and brought to a catastrophe; in an extended sense, the contrivances by which the crises and conclusion of a fictitious narrative, in prose or verse, are effected.
  • noun The means and appliances by which anything is kept in action or a desired result is obtained; a complex system of parts adapted to a purpose.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The machines constituting a production apparatus, in a plant etc., collectively.
  • noun The working parts of a machine as a group.
  • noun The collective parts of something which allow it to function.
  • noun figuratively The literary devices used in a work, notably for dramatic effect

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun machines or machine systems collectively
  • noun a system of means and activities whereby a social institution functions

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French machinerie ("machinery"), from machine ("machine"); see machine.

Examples

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