Words related to machine


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."


digraph used in Old French for the "tsh" sound. In some French dialects, including that of Paris (but not that of Picardy), Latin ca- became French "tsha." This was introduced to English after the Norman Conquest, in words borrowed from Old French such as chaste, charity, chief (adj.). Under French influence, -ch- also was inserted into Anglo-Saxon words that had the same sound (such as bleach, chest, church) which in Old English still was written with a simple -c-, and into those that had formerly been spelled with a -c- and pronounced "k" such as chin and much.

As French evolved, the "t" sound dropped out of -ch-, so in later loan-words from French -ch- has only the sound "sh-" (chauffeur, machine (n.), chivalry, etc.).

It turns up as well in words from classical languages (chaos, echo, etc.). Most uses of -ch- in Roman Latin were in words from Greek, which in Greek would be pronounced correctly as /k/ + /h/, as in modern blockhead, but most Romans would have said merely /k/, and this was the regular pronunciation in English. Before c. 1500 such words were regularly spelled with a -c- (Crist, cronicle, scoole), but Modern English has preserved or restored the etymological spelling in most of them (chemical, chorus, monarch). 

Sometimes ch- is written to keep -c- hard before a front vowel, as still in modern Italian. In some languages (Welsh, Spanish, Czech) ch- can be treated as a separate letter and words in it are alphabetized after -c- (or, in Czech and Slovak, after -h-). The sound also is heard in words from more distant languages (as in cheetah, chintz), and the digraph also is used to represent the sound in Scottish loch.

deus (n.)

"God, a god," mid-13c. in French and Latin salutations and exclamations in English works, see Zeus. Never nativized, but it continued to appear in adopted Latin expressions such as deus absconditus "hidden god," and deus ex machina "a power, event, person, or thing that arrives conveniently to solve a difficulty (especially in a play or novel). This (1690s) is from a Modern Latin translation of Greek apo mekhanes theos, literally "the god from the machina," the name of the device by which "gods" were suspended over the stage in Greek theater, from Greek (Attic) mēkhanē "device, tool, contrivance" (see machine (n.)). The fem. is dea ex machina

machination (n.)

late 15c., machinacion, "a plotting, an intrigue," from Old French machinacion "plot, conspiracy, scheming, intrigue" and directly from Latin machinationem (nominative machinatio) "device, contrivance, machination," noun of action from past-participle stem of machinari "to contrive skillfully, to design; to scheme, to plot," from machina "machine, engine; device trick" (see machine (n.)). Related: Machinations.

machinator (n.)

"plotter, schemer. one who schemes with evil designs," 1610s, from Latin machinator, agent noun from past-participle stem of machinari "to design, contrive, plot," from machina "machine, engine; device, trick" (see machine (n.)).

machine-gun (n.)

"a gun which by means of a mechanism delivers a continuous fire of projectiles," 1870, from machine (n.) + gun (n.). As a verb, "to shoot down or kill by means of a machine gun," it is attested by 1915. Related: Machine-gunned; machine-gunning; machine-gunner.

A man is entitled to the fruits of his labor, and to assert a just claim is a duty as well as a right. In the year 1861 I first conceived the idea of a machine gun, which has been ever since the great controlling idea of my life; and it certainly cannot be regarded as egotism when I express the belief that I am the originator of the first successful weapon of the kind ever invented. [R.J. Gatling, quoted in Scientific American, Oct. 15, 1870]

Though in the light of subsequent advancements Gatling's invention of 1862 is not considered a modern machine-gun.

machine-made (adj.)

"made by a machine or machinery" (opposed to man-made), by 1837, from machine (n.) + made.

machinery (n.)

1680s; from machine (n.) + -ery. Originally theatrical, "devices for creating stage effects" (which also was a sense of Greek mēkhanē); meaning "machines or parts of machines considered collectively," is attested from 1731. Transferred meaning "any complex system of (non-mechanical) means to carry on a particular work" is by 1770. Middle English had machinament "a contrivance" (early 15c.).

machine-shop (n.)

"workshop in which machines or parts of machines are made and repaired," 1827, from machine (n.) + shop (n.).

machinist (n.)

1706, "engineer, mechanical inventor, constructor of machines and engines," a hybrid from machine (n.) + -ist. Meaning "machine operator" is attested from 1879; in  U.S. Navy ratings, "an engine-room artificer or attendant," by 1880.