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See also: Mechanic


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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English mekanyk (mechanical), from Old French mecanique, from Latin mechanicus (of or belonging to machines or mechanics, inventive), from Ancient Greek μηχανικός (mēkhanikós, pertaining to machines or contrivance, mechanic, ingenious, inventive), from μηχανή (mēkhanḗ, a machine, contrivance); see machine.




  1. (archaic) mechanical; relating to the laws of motion in the art of constructing things
  2. (obsolete) Of or relating to a mechanic or artificer, or to the class of artisans; hence, rude; common; vulgar; base.


mechanic (plural mechanics)

  1. (now chiefly historical) A manual worker; a labourer or artisan. [from 16th c.]
    • 1972, Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down, Folio Society, published 2016, page 77:
      The lower orders were freer than they had ever been – free […] to choose their own lay preachers, mechanics like the rest of the congregation.
  2. Someone who builds or repairs machinery, a technician; now specifically, someone who works with and repairs the mechanical parts of a motor vehicle, aircraft or similar. [from 17th c.]
  3. A device, command, or feature which allows someone to achieve a specific task. [from 20th c.]
    This game has a mechanic where if you run toward a ledge you automatically jump off rather than just falling.
  4. (slang) A hit man. [from 20th c.]
    • 1976, Newton Thornburg, Cutter and Bone, Little, Brown, →ISBN, page 250:
      And from then on, his bag was silence. Silence and killing. Overnight he became the best grunt we had, a real killer, a mechanic.
  5. (gambling) A cheat who manipulates the cards or dice.
    Hyponyms: card mechanic, dice mechanic
    • 1969, Bruce Jackson, A Thief's Primer, Macmillan, →ISBN, page 91:
      I can do other things beside burglarizing. I'm a first-class crap dealer, I'm a pretty good card mechanic, pretty good dice mechanic.
    • 1995, Nicholas Pileggi; Martin Scorsese, Casino, spoken by Ace (Robert De Niro):
      It was so obvious. I mean, all of Nicky's half-assed mechanics, they were real signal happy.

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Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of mekanyk