variants or less commonly aeolipyle or eolipile
plural -s
: an apparatus that was invented in the second century b.c. and is often called the first steam engine and that consisted essentially of a closed vessel (as a globe or cylinder) with one or more projecting bent tubes out of which steam is made to pass from the vessel, the action of the steam jets causing it to revolve

Word History


Latin & Greek; Latin aeolipila, by folk etymology (influence of Latin pila ball) from Greek aiolipylē, Aiolon pylē, from aioli- (from Aiolos, god of wind) or Aiolon (genitive of Aiolos) + pylē gate

First Known Use

1654, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of aeolipile was in 1654

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near aeolipile

Cite this Entry

“Aeolipile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!