Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about machinations.)
Machinations are complicated, sneaky plans. They're usually evil.
Though the verbs are rare, you can use them: machinate, machinated, machinating.
We hardly ever see the singular noun "machination."
Pretty much always, we use the plural: "machinations."
How to use it:
If you're being serious, talk about the machinations of a cruel dictator, the machinations of a powerful and greedy corporation, legal machinations, political machinations, a villain's machinations, and so on.
If you're joking, talk about the machinations of the popular crowd, the machinations of this advertisement-heavy magazine, the mathematical machinations you had to dream up to solve that hard problem, a cartoon character's machinations for world domination, and so on.
You can also talk about "machinations against something," as in "machinations against our country" or "machinations against academic freedom."
Only a sore loser would accuse the gymnastics judges of political machinations.
It's tiresome to read about a villain's endless machinations to steal something that he could just easily grab from the hero's hands.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You'll know you understand what "machinations" means when you can explain it without saying "sinister" or "plots."
Think of a powerful person or group that frustrates you. It might be a company, an industry, or an authority. Fill in the blanks: “After (a complex and difficult experience), I just can't fathom the machinations of (the person or group).”
Example: “After having my application rejected for not providing the 'right' documents proving my residency, I just can't fathom the machinations of the state driver licensing office.”
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don't go straight to the review now; let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game is "Guess the real pop song title when I give you a long-winded, highfalutin version of it." All the answers this month will be titles of popular songs released no earlier than 2012. Try it out each day and see the right answer the next day. We're playing this in order to appreciate the simple, precise vocabulary of pop song titles, despite how often they are criticized for being sappy, trite, and simplistic.
Yesterday’s answer: “We are Incapable of Ceasing” is really “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus.
Try this one today: “Characterized by a Spontaneous Release of Energy”
A Point Well Made:
Socrates: “[A tyrant] is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.”
1. The opposite of MACHINATIONS is
2. A school dress code _____; it's not a series of machinations against the expression of your personal style.
A. has a legitimate purpose
B. can be overly complex
C. is manipulative by nature
Answers are below.
To be a sponsor and send your own message to readers of this list, please contact Liesl at Liesl@HiloTutor.com.
Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
Subscribe to "Make Your Point" for a daily vocabulary boost.