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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Mechanics \Me*chan"ics\, n. [Cf. F. m['e]canique.] That science, or branch of applied mathematics, which treats of the action of forces on bodies.

Note: That part of mechanics which considers the action of forces in producing rest or equilibrium is called statics; that which relates to such action in producing motion is called dynamics. The term mechanics includes the action of forces on all bodies, whether solid, liquid, or gaseous. It is sometimes, however, and formerly was often, used distinctively of solid bodies only: The mechanics of liquid bodies is called also hydrostatics, or hydrodynamics, according as the laws of rest or of motion are considered. The mechanics of gaseous bodies is called also pneumatics. The mechanics of fluids in motion, with special reference to the methods of obtaining from them useful results, constitutes hydraulics.

Animal mechanics (Physiol.), that portion of physiology which has for its object the investigation of the laws of equilibrium and motion in the animal body. The most important mechanical principle is that of the lever, the bones forming the arms of the levers, the contractile muscles the power, the joints the fulcra or points of support, while the weight of the body or of the individual limbs constitutes the weight or resistance.

Applied mechanics, the principles of abstract mechanics applied to human art; also, the practical application of the laws of matter and motion to the construction of machines and structures of all kinds.

orbital mechanics, the principles governing the motion of bodies in orbit around other bodies under gravitational influence, such as artificial Earth satellites.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1640s, based on Late Latin mechanica, from Greek mekhanike, mekhanika (see mechanic (adj.)); also see -ics.


n. 1 (context physics English) The branch of physics that deals with the action of forces on material objects with mass 2 The design and construction of machines. 3 (context writing English) spelling and punctuation. 4 operation in general; workings 5 (plural of mechanic English)Category:English plurals

  1. n. the branch of physics concerned with the motion of bodies in a frame of reference

  2. the technical aspects of doing something; "a mechanism of social control"; "mechanisms of communication"; "the mechanics of prose style" [syn: mechanism]


Mechanics ( Greek ) is an area of science concerned with the behaviour of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements, and the subsequent effects of the bodies on their environment. The scientific discipline has its origins in Ancient Greece with the writings of Aristotle and Archimedes (see History of classical mechanics and Timeline of classical mechanics). During the early modern period, scientists such as Khayaam, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, laid the foundation for what is now known as classical mechanics. It is a branch of classical physics that deals with particles that are either at rest or are moving with velocities significantly less than the speed of light. It can also be defined as a branch of science which deals with the motion of and forces on objects.

Mechanics (Aristotle)

Mechanics (or Mechanica or Mechanical Problems; ) is a text traditionally attributed to Aristotle, though his authorship of it is disputed. Thomas Winter has suggested that the author was Archytas. However, Coxhead says that it is only possible to conclude that the author was one of the Peripatetics.

During the Renaissance, an edition of this work was published by Francesco Maurolico.

Usage examples of "mechanics".

One airman was injured, and two mechanics and several sentries were killed at their posts.

Nicholas Sanders, a contemporary Catholic apologist, said that the common people of that period were divided into three classes: husbandmen, shepherds and mechanics.

The biologist, the geologist and the physician prepared a reconnaissance robot, the mechanics adjusted the landing locators and searchlights and got ready a rocket satellite that would transmit a message to Earth.

What mysteries has fiction produced to rival mind bogglers like deep geological time, a boundless universe, the big bang, relativity, quantum mechanics, the double helix, natural selection, mass extinction, the language instinct, and chaos theory?

Laws derived from mechanics, such as the conservation of energy, momentum, and angular momentum, were found to be covariant with respect to Galilean transforms and afforded the mechanistic foundations of classical science.

The institute was a thoroughly modern and up-to-date facility, in keeping with the modern and up-to-date subjects taught within its walls: electricity and electronics, mechanics, plumbing, recycling and reclamation, construction, carpentry, accounting and bookkeeping, secretarial skills, data recording, computer programming and repair, cybernation maintenance, aeronautics, solar-cell construction, electrical generating, motion-picture projection, camera operation, audio recording, hydrogen-fusion operation, power broadcasting, electrical space propulsion, satellite construction and repair, telemetry, and many more.

Engine-mechanics, riggers, electricians, instrument fitters and radio mechanics swarmed all over the great four-motor aircraft.

It was a simple, geocentric, Copernican model, based on Euclidean geometry and Newtonian mechanics.

After a variety of conjectures and vague reports, each at variance with the other, and evidently deficient in the most remote connexion with the true cause of the strife, it was agreed to submit the question to the waiter, as a neutral observer, who assured us that the whole affair arose out of a trifling circumstance, originating with some mischievous boys, who, having watched two gownsmen into a cyprian temple in the neighbourhood of Saint Thomas, circulated a false report that they had carried thither the wives of two respectable mechanics.

From a child this Frank had been a donought that his father, a headborough, who could ill keep him to school to learn his letters and the use of the globes, matriculated at the university to study the mechanics but he took the bit between his teeth like a raw colt and was more familiar with the justiciary and the parish beadle than with his volumes.

In recent years, various Montoyas had become famous as jackleg mechanics.