late 14c., of a craft or skill, "pertaining to or involving mechanical labor" (a sense now usually with mechanical), also "having to do with tools," from Latin mechanicus "of or belonging to machines or mechanics; inventive," from Greek mēkhanikos "full of resources, inventive, ingenious," literally "mechanical, pertaining to machines," from mēkhanē "device, tool" (see machine (n.)). Meaning "of the nature of or pertaining to machines" is from 1620s.
1560s, "one who is employed in manual labor, one who works mechanically, a handicraft worker, an artisan," from Latin mechanicus "of or belonging to machines or mechanics," from Greek mekhanikos "an engineer," noun use of adjective meaning "full of resources, inventive, ingenious," from mēkhanē "device, tool, machine; contrivance, cunning" (see machine (n.)).
Their social and professional organizations were prominent late 18c. and early 19c. in Britain and America, and account for the Mechanics Halls in many towns and the Mechanicsvilles and Mechanicsburgs on the map. The sense of "skilled workman who is concerned with the making or repair of machinery" is attested from 1660s, but was not the main sense of the word until the rise of the automobile in late 19c.
early 15c., "of or pertaining to tools and their use," from mechanic (adj.) + -al (1). By 1570s as "of or pertaining to machines and their use." Of persons or human actions, "resembling machines, automatic, lacking spirit or spontaneity," from c. 1600. Scientific sense of "of or pertaining to the material forces of nature acting on inanimate bodies," from 1620s. Related: Mechanically. Mechanical-minded is recorded from 1820.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to be able, have power." It forms all or part of: dismay; deus ex machina; may (v.1) "am able;" might (n.) "bodily strength, power;" main; machine; mechanic; mechanism; mechano-; mage; magi; magic.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit mahan "great;" Greek mēkhanē "device, means," mekhos, makhos "means, instrument;" Old Church Slavonic mošti, Russian moč' "can, be able;" Old English mæg "I can," Gothic mag "can, is able," Old High German magan, Old Norse magn "power, might."
"oily fat of land animals," c. 1300, from Anglo-French grece, Old French gresse, craisse "grease, fat" (Modern French graisse), from Vulgar Latin *crassia "(melted) animal fat, grease," from Latin crassus "thick, solid, fat" (source also of Spanish grasa, Italian grassa), which is of unknown origin. Grease paint, used by actors, attested from 1880. Grease monkey "mechanic" is from 1918.