American English

Definition of machine noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1(often in compounds) a piece of equipment with moving parts that is designed to do a particular job. The power used to work a machine may be electricity, steam, gas, etc. or human power. Machines have replaced human labor in many industries. to operate/run a machine How does this machine work? a washing/sewing machine a machine for making plastic toys I left a message on her answering machine. The potatoes are planted by machine. see also voting machine
  2. 2(informal) a particular machine, for example in the home, when you do not refer to it by its full name Just put those clothes in the machine (= the washing machine). The new machines (= computers) will be shipped next month.
  3. 3a group of people that control an organization or part of an organization the president's propaganda machine Hollywood's slick public relations machine has produced a new improved model of a young movie star.
  4. 4(often disapproving) a person who acts automatically, without allowing their feelings to show or to affect their work He was the perfect fighting machine with a total disregard for his own personal safety. see also mechanical, slot machine, time machine You will find other compounds ending in machine at their place in the alphabet.
  5. Idioms
    a cog in the machine/wheel (informal)
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    a person who is a small part of a large organization
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: machine