1 part of a machine
ADJ. firing, locking, steering, trigger, winding
MECHANISM + VERB operate, work The door locking mechanism doesn't work. | jam
2 how sth works
ADJ. effective, precise an effective mechanism for enforcing the rules | underlying | complex | social
VERB + MECHANISM provide The system provides a mechanism whereby information is channelled into the market.
MECHANISM + VERB operate, work | allow sth, ensure sth
PREP. by/through the ~ of The government is held accountable through the mechanism of regular general elections. | ~ for a mechanism for dealing with complaints
3 system of parts/behaviour that performs a function
ADJ. avoidance, control, defence, escape, survival The body has defence mechanisms against many diseases. | cellular, genetic, immunological, molecular, neural, physiological, psychological, etc.
PREP. ~ for