machine

machine, mechanism, machinery, apparatus, engine, motor are comparable especially when they denote a device or system by which energy can be converted into useful work.
Machine is at once the most fundamental of these terms and the most varied in its applications. Basically it denotes an assemblage of parts that transmit forces, motion, and energy from one to another in a predetermined manner and to a desired end (as sewing a seam, hoisting a load, printing a book, or maintaining an electric current)
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a drilling machine

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machines that convert rags to paper

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a washing machine

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But it also may apply specifically to any of the six simple machines (the lever, the wheel and axle, the pulley, the inclined plane, the wedge, and the screw) that together contain the elements of which all other machines are composed. Again, it may apply to a machine in the basic sense together with its power-generating unit and sometimes with supplementary equipment (as for moving the whole complex)
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road-building machines

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or it may apply specifically to a conveyance and especially an automobile
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the term "machine" as used in the patent statute includes every mechanical device or combination of mechanical powers and devices to perform some function and produce a certain effect or result— Toulmin

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only an organism has its own internal purpQses which belong to it intrinsically and ... a machine, so far as we know, is merely an extension of the specific purpose of organisms, men—La Barre

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gears are modified simple machines such as the lever, pulley, wheel-and- axle, and inclined plane. They all serve to multiply force, change speed, or direction of motion and serve as connecting devices between driving units and driven mechanisms— Heitner

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man uses machines to transform energy, transfer energy, multiply force, multiply speed, or change the direction of a force—C. E. Dull, H. C. Metcalfe, & J. E. Williams

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and machine is the only term of this group that is freely used collectively of machines as a class or abstractly of the technology and technological society associated with their use
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when I use the word machines hereafter I shall refer to specific objects like the printing press or the power loom. When I use the term "the machine" I shall employ it as a shorthand reference to the entire technological complex— Mumford

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the domination of our cultural and collective life by the machine—Glicksberg

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the liberty of choice allowed to the craftsman who worked by hand has almost vanished with the general use of the machineDewey

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Mechanism may come close to the basic sense of machine when it denotes an assemblage of working parts functioning together to produce an effect, but more often than not it applies to relatively simple straightforward mechanical linkages such as make up a complex machine; thus, a sewing machine is made up of several mechanisms (as one to advance the thread, another to convey the cloth, another to determine the length of the stitch, and still another to wind the bobbins)
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the real mechanic understands the construction of his machine; he knows the names and uses of the parts and the principles underlying the operation of the mechanismsBurghardt & Axelrod

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the economic machine that provides for our everyday needs is so intricate that it is hard to see the purpose of particular cogs in its mechanism—W. T. C. King

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Sometimes, however, mechanism suggests not merely the physical parts but the various steps that lead to the final result of the process
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the propeller is the source of an intense sound but the exact mechanism by which this sound is produced is not clearly understood— Armstrong

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Machinery (see also EQUIPMENT) may apply to machines collectively
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the mill sold its old machinery and bought more efficient machines

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machinery for making shoes

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the term machinery is very much more comprehensive in scope than the word machine. . . . Unquestionably, the term is broad enough to include a number of machines and their connecting appurtenances which are operated as a unit for a given purpose— U.S. Treasury Decisions

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but it may also replace mechanism to denote an assemblage of working parts performing a function
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a strange, quiet boy, interested much less in booklearning than in what was to be learned from rusty automobiles on the junkheap or from the thousand machineries all around him— Kerouac

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men who are temperamentally unsuited to fiddling with the adjustment machinery put in the backs of most bow ties— New Yorker

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Apparatus (see also EQUIPMENT) basically denotes an assemblage of parts for attaining some end or doing some thing, but in itself it implies nothing about the complexity or simplicity, the efficiency or inefficiency, or the precision or crudity of the assemblage; thus, chimpanzees have been reported to put sticks together into a crude apparatus for reaching fruit that is beyond the reach of their hand
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modern heating and refrigerating apparatuses raise the temperature during the winter and lower it during the summer— Carrel

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the apparatus which took the photographs and reproduced them ... are more sensitive and truthful than the human eyeDay Lewis

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Engine and motor in their basic relevant sense both denote a machine for converting energy (as heat, chemical, or nuclear energy) into mechanical force or motion, but in many situations they are not at all interchangeable, choice between them being firmly fixed by idiom.
Engine is the more general term in this relation and is applicable to such machines whether large or small, simple or complex
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an internal-combustion engine

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or it may apply both to a power-generating unit and a working unit that depends upon this
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these engines were built to pump out mines— Kettering & Orth

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and sometimes specifically designates certain automotive units (as a locomotive or fire engine)
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sent engines, hose carts, and ladder trucks to the fire

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a long freight train drawn by two engines

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From an earlier general use engine is still specifically applied to a few kinds of machines
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rose engine

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and it is the idiomatically appropriate term to designate the power plant of an aircraft
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with either turbojet or rocket engines these research air-planes would have sufficient power to permit the maximum speed aerodynamically possible— Bonney

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Motor is applicable to a small or light engine
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an outboard motor

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a spit worked by a small clockwork motor

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or to a gasoline or other internal-combustion engine; thus, one may speak of the motor or engine of an automobile; diesel engines or motors power many modern locomotives
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the finest machine in the world is useless without a motor to drive it— Furnas

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Motor is the specific term for a rotating machine that transforms electrical energy into mechanical energy
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household appliances run by electric motors

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a motor is a machine for transforming electrical energy into mechanical energy or power— Cloud

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Like machine, motor also applies specifically to an automotive vehicle (as an automobile or truck)
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we want a truck battalion of at least four companies. . . . The vehicles for this unit would be obtained by drawing on excess motors in various division units— Combat Forces Jour.

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the taxpayer did not then provide Ministers with carriages and coachmen as he now provides them with motors and chauffeurs— Collis

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Analogous words: contrivance, *device, contraption, gadget: *implement, tool, instrument, utensil, appliance

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

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