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SubZero61992
March 13th, 2005, 01:12 PM
How would you define the word 'machine'?
Usually I think of science/energy powering moving parts.
But while writing today I noticed I was going to call catapults machines... would this be reasonable, calling a catapult a machine?

Expendable
March 13th, 2005, 02:02 PM
How would you define the word 'machine'?
Usually I think of science/energy powering moving parts.
But while writing today I noticed I was going to call catapults machines... would this be reasonable, calling a catapult a machine?

Dictionary.com (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=machine) says a machine is:
a. A device consisting of fixed and moving parts that modifies mechanical energy and transmits it in a more useful form.
b. A simple device, such as a lever, a pulley, or an inclined plane, that alters the magnitude or direction, or both, of an applied force; a simple machine.

It also says a catapult is "a military machine for hurling missiles, such as large stones or spears, used in ancient and medieval times."

So yes.

skwirlinator
March 13th, 2005, 02:16 PM
A nano-motor is a machine

SubZero61992
March 13th, 2005, 03:42 PM
I first got the definition off of dictionary.com too/

Lifino
March 13th, 2005, 05:19 PM
I'll pipe in here: I agree with the defintions given. My personal definition is anything that a person manipulates to achieve an 'end.' This has gotten me into trouble with a few people online as it is so broad...

For example, I would define a lead pencil as a machine, perhaps the most simple machine around... BUT a magnifying lens is not a machine, because for it to achieve it's 'end' a person does not need to manipulate it - although two lenses as found in a telescope would be a machine... Let me ask this, if a telescope is a machine, then are two lenses held by hand and positioned in a way to allow them to function as a telescope considered a machine?

To answer your question, YES a catapult is a machine.

KatG
March 13th, 2005, 06:19 PM
A catapult is a machine, a lever is what they call a simple machine. But would the people using the catapult call it a machine? Or would they call it a device? A tool? A weapon? A work of the devil? Depends on who they are. The word is believed to come from Middle French from the ancient Greek and Roman words for "means." So it's possible your characters might call it a machine or a machina (the Latin form.) Or, if it's an imaginary realm or alternative sf culture, or something like that, they might have another word altogether.

Lifino
March 13th, 2005, 10:51 PM
"Siege Machine"

http://www.villa-kerylos.com/les_baux/decouvertes/img01031.gif

Le trébuchet.

TheEarCollector
March 14th, 2005, 03:28 PM
Siege engines are the more accurate term... But yeah, it's just a complex military machine... sort of complex, not by modern standards though ;)

Soon Lee
March 14th, 2005, 03:36 PM
The Oxford has a number of definitions. The one I prefer is "Anything that transmits force or directs its application".

The simplest of these include the lever, pulley, wheel and screw. More complex machines are made up of simple machines. By this definition, catapults are machines.

Michael B
March 15th, 2005, 12:01 PM
The Oxford has a number of definitions. The one I prefer is "Anything that transmits force or directs its application".
.

My copy of the Oxford dictioanry uses the words mechanic power and thus excludes radios but would include catapults.

One TV series described draft animals as probably the first machine. You put grass in one end and get manure out of the other. In the process you can get it to pull ploughs and carts. The fact that it is organic and living doesn't seen to exclude such beasties from any of the definitions for a machine given so far.

Michael B