crank·​shaft | \ˈkraŋk-ˌshaft \

Definition of crankshaft 

1 : a shaft driven by or driving a crank

2 : a shaft consisting of a series of cranks and crankpins to which the connecting rods of an engine are attached

Examples of crankshaft in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

For every 90 degrees that the crankshaft turns on a V8 or every 180 degrees on an I4, DSF is making a decision. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "How Smarter Cylinder-Skipping Will Make Gas Engines Better," 7 Aug. 2018 But the shortest route is to minimize the duration of the start/stop event itself, so that the engine fires within the first rotation of the engine crankshaft. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS: A Move Toward Electrification," 3 Aug. 2018 The new-for-2018 GT3’s engine features wider crankshaft bearings to beef up the bottom end and new heads with roller finger followers for a lighter and zingier valvetrain. James Lipman, Car and Driver, "2018 Porsche 911 GT3 PDK Automatic," 23 Mar. 2018 Those crankshafts and cylinder blocks won’t qualify as local content for the EU—unless the U.K. can agree on new cumulation agreements with the EU and South Africa. Jason Douglas, WSJ, "‘Rules of Origin’ Risk Tripping Up Trade Post-Brexit," 16 May 2018 In 2001, the IRL tried to improve the sound with tweaks, including a new crankshaft. Dakota Crawford, Indianapolis Star, "What a blind man gets from the Indy 500: 'That gasoline thunder'," 24 May 2018 After test riding new bikes and considering his options, my dad had a custom shop called Cyclepath bore out new cylinders and fit a new crankshaft into the same engine, increasing the displacement from 88 cubic inches to 103. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Indian Motorcycle Is Coming for Harley-Davidson's Throne," 9 Mar. 2018 This could be every 90 degrees of crankshaft rotation in a V8 or every 180 degrees for an I4. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Clever new cylinder control gives big MPG boost—and it’s ready to roll," 15 Feb. 2018 Also, if the oil is too thick the engine requires more energy to turn the crankshaft, which is partly submerged in a bath of oil. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "How To Pick The Right Motor Oil For Your Car," 18 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crankshaft.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of crankshaft

1854, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about crankshaft

Share crankshaft

Statistics for crankshaft

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crankshaft

The first known use of crankshaft was in 1854

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for crankshaft



English Language Learners Definition of crankshaft

: a long metal piece that connects a vehicle's engine to the wheels and helps turn them

More from Merriam-Webster on crankshaft

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crankshaft Encyclopedia article about crankshaft

Comments on crankshaft

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


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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