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late 14c., "pertaining to or involving mechanical labor" (now usually mechanical), also "having to do with tools," from Latin mechanicus, from Greek mekhanikos "full of resources, inventive, ingenious," literally "mechanical, pertaining to machines," from mekhane (see machine (n.)). Meaning "of the nature of or pertaining to machines" is from 1620s.
"manual laborer," late 14c., from Latin mechanicus, from Greek mekhanikos "an engineer," noun use of adjective meaning "full of resources, inventive, ingenious" (see mechanic (adj.)). Sense of "one who is employed in manual labor, a handicraft worker, an artisan" (chief sense through early 19c.) is attested from 1560s. Sense of "skilled workman who is concerned with making or repair of machinery" is from 1660s, but not the main sense until the rise of the automobile.