Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

Describing machines and pieces of equipment

all-singing, all-dancing

adjective

an all-singing, all-dancing system or piece of equipment is very advanced and able to do everything you want it to

analog

another spelling of analogue

analogue

adjective

using signals or information represented by continuously changing quantities of space, electrical current etc

automatic

adjective

an automatic machine or process works by itself rather than being operated by people

automatically

adverb

by a machine, without people doing anything

auxiliary

adjective

auxiliary equipment or systems are available for use if the main one fails

broken

adjective

if a machine is broken, it is not working correctly

built

adjective

used for showing where a machine or structure was produced or made

clean

adjective

clean machines and processes do not create a lot of pollution

clever

adjective

a clever tool, machine, or invention is unusual but good and effective

clockwork

noun

operated by a set of springs that work when you turn a handle or key

cordless

adjective

a cordless tool or piece of equipment works without being connected to the electricity supply

cranky

adjective

likely to stop working at any time

dead

adjective

a piece of equipment that is dead is no longer working or able to receive an electrical signal

digital

adjective

a digital clock or instrument shows information as a row of numbers

dodgy

adjective

not operating correctly

electric

adjective

working by electricity

electrical

adjective

working by electricity

entry-level

adjective

entry-level equipment is the most basic or simple type intended for people who are beginning an activity

fail-safe

adjective

designed to make a machine or piece of equipment stop working if part of it stops operating normally

female

adjective

a female part of a machine has a hole in it into which a male part fits

first generation

noun

the first type of a particular machine or piece of equipment to be produced

foot

noun

operated using your foot or feet

gas-fired

adjective

using gas as a fuel

graduated

adjective

a graduated container or piece of equipment has marks on it to show measurements

hands-free

adjective

hands-free equipment can be operated without using your hands, for example by using a headset or a remote control

hard-wired

adjective

a hard-wired computer system or other system cannot be changed by the user because it has been built to operate in a particular way

Heath Robinson

adjective

a Heath Robinson machine or method is funny and clever but much too complicated for whatever job it is intended to perform

heat-seeking

adjective

heat-seeking equipment is able to find something using the heat it produces

heavy

adjective

heavy machines, vehicles, or weapons are large and powerful

high-performance

adjective

designed to be very fast or powerful

homing

adjective

used for describing military equipment such as a missile that is able to find a particular place or object

hydraulic

adjective

a hydraulic machine uses the pressure of water or oil to make it work

idle

adjective

machines or factories that are idle are not being used

incompatible

adjective

ideas, systems, or machines that are incompatible are not able to work or exist together because of basic differences

inflatable

adjective

an inflatable object must be filled with air before you can use it

inflatable

noun

an object that you fill with air before you use it, for example a ball or boat

inoperative

adjective

an inoperative machine, system, or law is not working and cannot be made to work

jammed

adjective

a piece of equipment that is jammed has some part of it that is not moving correctly

labour-saving

adjective

labour-saving equipment such as washing machines and vacuum cleaners do jobs in a quick and effective way so that you do not have to spend a lot of time doing them yourself

low

adjective

used about equipment that is not producing much energy, or that has not got much energy left

male

adjective

a male part of a device has a long narrow piece that fits into a hole

manned

adjective

operated or controlled by people. Some people avoid using this word because they think it is offensive to women, and they use staffed or crewed instead

manual

adjective

operated without electricity

manual

adjective

operated by a person instead of automatically or using a computer

mechanical

adjective

operated by a machine or system of moving parts

mechanical

adjective

relating to engines and machines, and the way that they work

motorised

another spelling of motorized

motorized

adjective

fitted with an engine, often as an extra benefit

multi-user

adjective

involving or capable of dealing with a lot of different users at the same time

off

adjective, adverb, preposition

a machine or piece of electrical equipment that is off is not switched on or is not being used

on

adverb, preposition

if a machine or piece of electrical equipment is on, it is in use or working

on-board

adjective

fitted as part of a car, plane etc

one-man

adjective

designed for just one person

on-off

adjective

an on-off switch is one that you press to make a machine work or stop working

out

adverb, preposition

used for saying that a machine or a piece of electrical equipment is not working

plug-in

adjective

a plug-in piece of equipment gets power by being connected to an electricity supply by means of a plug

pneumatic

adjective

a pneumatic tool or piece of equipment works using compressed air

portable

noun

something that is portable, for example a small computer, television, or other small piece of electrical equipment

power

adjective

operated by electricity or by a motor

programmable

adjective

a machine that is programmable can be given instructions so that it will do something automatically

push-button

adjective

operated by pressing a button or switch

radio-controlled

adjective

a radio-controlled toy or piece of equipment is operated using radio signals

redundant

adjective

designed to operate instead of a piece of electronic equipment or system if it fails

reliable

adjective

a reliable vehicle, piece of equipment, or system always works well

remote

adjective

capable of being operated from a distance or by using a remote control

right-hand

adjective

designed or intended for the right hand

right-handed

adjective

designed to be used by a right-handed person

robotic

adjective

used for describing a part of a machine that moves around by itself

single

adjective

designed for one person, or used by one person

sluggish

adjective

not performing or reacting as well as usual

smart

adjective

smart machines, especially weapons, use computer technology to make them effective

souped-up

adjective

made faster or more powerful or effective

spring-loaded

adjective

operated by a spring inside

steam

noun

operated by steam

submersible

adjective

a submersible machine or vehicle can work under water

transistorized

adjective

made smaller by using transistors

two-way

adjective

able both to send and to receive messages

unconnected

adjective

not joined to a system, for example in order to provide or receive electricity or communication

unfriendly

adjective

not easy to use or operate

unmanned

adjective

used for describing a building or machine that does not have any staff there to manage or operate it. Some people avoid using this word because they consider it offensive to women, and use unstaffed or uncrewed instead

unsophisticated

adjective

used for describing simple tools and pieces of equipment that are not advanced

user-friendly

adjective

a user-friendly system or piece of equipment is easy to use or understand

voice-activated

adjective

a machine or piece of equipment that is voice-activated begins to operate when it hears someone’s voice

wind-up

adjective

a wind-up toy or machine is one that works when you turn a key several times

wired

adjective

able to receive electronic or computer signals

wireless

adjective

wireless technology, systems, or equipment such as mobile phones does not use wires, but communicates using electronic signals

digitally

adverb

electrically

adverb

first-generation

adjective

laser

adjective

manually

adverb

remote-controlled

adjective

supercharged

adjective

user-friendliness

noun

wirelessly

adverb

at the touch of a button

if a machine works at the touch of a button, it works extremely quickly and easily

come on stream

to start to work or be effective

have a mind of its own

if a machine or object has a mind of its own, it behaves in a way that you do not expect

in working order

working correctly, without any problems

on the blink

if a piece of electrical equipment is on the blink, it is not working very well

out of order

a machine or piece of equipment that is out of order is not working correctly

kabaddi

a game in which two teams of seven players take turns to chase and try to touch players on the opposing team

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Ouch!

a response to a scathing comment or unpleasant situation

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog