Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

engine

play
noun en·gine \ˈen-jən\

Simple Definition of engine

  • : a machine that changes energy (such as heat from burning fuel) into mechanical motion

  • : the vehicle that pulls a train

  • : something that is used for a particular purpose

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of engine

  1. 1 obsolete a :  ingenuity b :  evil contrivance :  wile

  2. 2 a :  something used to effect a purpose :  agent, instrument <mournful and terrible engine of horror and of crime — E. A. Poe> b :  something that produces a particular and usually desirable result <engines of economic growth>

  3. 3 a :  a mechanical tool: as (1) :  an instrument or machine of war (2) obsolete :  a torture implement b :  machinery c :  any of various mechanical appliances —often used in combination <fire engine>

  4. 4 :  a machine for converting any of various forms of energy into mechanical force and motion; also :  a mechanism or object that serves as an energy source <black holes may be the engines for quasars>

  5. 5 :  a railroad locomotive

  6. 6 :  computer software that performs a fundamental function especially of a larger program

engineless

adjective

Examples of engine in a sentence

  1. The car has a four-cylinder engine.

  2. tanks, planes, and other engines of war

  3. The tax cut could be an engine of economic growth.



Origin and Etymology of engine

Middle English engin, from Anglo-French, from Latin ingenium natural disposition, talent, from in- + gignere to beget — more at kin


First Known Use: 13th century

Other Mechanical Engineering Terms


2

engine

verb en·gine

Definition of engine

engined

engining

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to equip with engines



1868

First Known Use of engine

1868


ENGINE Defined for Kids

engine

play
noun en·gine \ˈen-jən\

Definition of engine for Students

  1. 1 :  a mechanical tool or device <tanks, planes, and other engines of war>

  2. 2 :  a machine for driving or operating something especially by using the energy of steam, gasoline, or oil

  3. 3 :  locomotive



History for engine

The English word engine came from the Latin word ingenium, meaning “natural talent.” At first the word engine meant “skill” or “cleverness.” In time the word came to be used for things that are products of human skills and cleverness—tools and machines, for example.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up engine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

in the capacity or character of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

fox-in-summer-forest

Which of these is a synonym of inchoate?

massive experimental formless frightening
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ