Definition of mechanism noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈmekənɪzəm//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmekənɪzəm//
    How machines work
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  1. 1a set of moving parts in a machine that performs a task a delicate watch mechanism The mechanism for locking the door of the washing machine is childproof. See related entries: How machines work
  2. 2a method or a system for achieving something mechanisms for dealing with complaints from the general public The college has established an effective student support mechanism.
  3. 3a system of parts in a living thing that together perform a particular function the balance mechanism in the ears Pain acts as a natural defence mechanism.
  4. Word Originmid 17th cent.: from modern Latin mechanismus, from Greek mēkhanē, from mēkhos ‘contrivance’.Extra examples Scientists have been unable to explain the exact mechanism behind this effect. The body has defence mechanisms against many diseases. The door locking mechanism doesn’t work. The government is held accountable through the mechanism of regular general elections. The gun froze, jamming the mechanism. The system provides a mechanism whereby information is channelled into the market. This activates the body’s thirst mechanism. a mechanism for dealing with complaints an effective mechanism for enforcing the rules physiological mechanisms regulating the release of hormones Simple repetition was regarded as an effective learning mechanism. The present mechanisms of government could be improved. Various mechanisms are in place for dealing with emergencies. We need some kind of mechanism for making appointments.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: mechanism

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