The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Machine \Ma*chine"\ (m[.a]*sh[=e]n"), n. [F., fr. L. machina
machine, engine, device, trick, Gr. mhchanh`, from mh^chos
means, expedient. Cf. Mechanic.]
1. In general, any combination of bodies so connected that
their relative motions are constrained, and by means of
which force and motion may be transmitted and modified, as
a screw and its nut, or a lever arranged to turn about a
fulcrum or a pulley about its pivot, etc.; especially, a
construction, more or less complex, consisting of a
combination of moving parts, or simple mechanical
elements, as wheels, levers, cams, etc., with their
supports and connecting framework, calculated to
constitute a prime mover, or to receive force and motion
from a prime mover or from another machine, and transmit,
modify, and apply them to the production of some desired
mechanical effect or work, as weaving by a loom, or the
excitation of electricity by an electrical machine.
Note: The term machine is most commonly applied to such
pieces of mechanism as are used in the industrial arts,
for mechanically shaping, dressing, and combining
materials for various purposes, as in the manufacture
of cloth, etc. Where the effect is chemical, or other
than mechanical, the contrivance is usually denominated
an apparatus or device, not a machine; as, a bleaching
apparatus. Many large, powerful, or specially important
pieces of mechanism are called engines; as, a steam
engine, fire engine, graduating engine, etc. Although
there is no well-settled distinction between the terms
engine and machine among practical men, there is a
tendency to restrict the application of the former to
contrivances in which the operating part is not
distinct from the motor.
2. Any mechanical contrivance, as the wooden horse with which
the Greeks entered Troy; a coach; a bicycle. --Dryden.
3. A person who acts mechanically or at the will of another.
4. A combination of persons acting together for a common
purpose, with the agencies which they use; as, the social
The whole machine of government ought not to bear
upon the people with a weight so heavy and
5. A political organization arranged and controlled by one or
more leaders for selfish, private or partisan ends; the
Tammany machine. [Political Cant]
6. Supernatural agency in a poem, or a superhuman being
introduced to perform some exploit. --Addison.
Elementary machine, a name sometimes given to one of the
simple mechanical powers. See under Mechanical.
Infernal machine. See under Infernal.
Machine gun.See under Gun.
Machine screw, a screw or bolt adapted for screwing into
metal, in distinction from one which is designed
especially to be screwed into wood.
Machine shop, a workshop where machines are made, or where
metal is shaped by cutting, filing, turning, etc.
Machine tool, a machine for cutting or shaping wood, metal,
etc., by means of a tool; especially, a machine, as a
lathe, planer, drilling machine, etc., designed for a more
or less general use in a machine shop, in distinction from
a machine for producing a special article as in
Machine twist, silken thread especially adapted for use in
a sewing machine.
Machine work, work done by a machine, in contradistinction
to that done by hand labor.