die·​sel | \ˈdē-zəl, -səl\

Definition of diesel 

(Entry 1 of 2)

2 : a vehicle driven by a diesel engine


biographical name
Die·​sel | \ˈdē-zəl, -səl\

Definition of Diesel (Entry 2 of 2)

Rudolf 1858–1913 German mechanical engineer

Examples of diesel in a Sentence


Does your car take diesel or gasoline?

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

It has been bogged down by its diesel-emissions cheating scandal, which has cost more than $30 billion in fines, penalties, and compensation for consumers so far. William Boston, WSJ, "Ford, Volkswagen Explore Venture to Challenge Tesla, Waymo," 2 Nov. 2018 The investigations were prompted by similar findings of improper testing at Subaru Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., and before that from the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal of 2015, where 11 million cars were found to be cheating emissions standards. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Suzuki, Mazda, Yamaha All Used Falsified Emissions Data," 9 Aug. 2018 Volkswagen AG has agreed to pay a $1.2-billion fine imposed by German prosecutors for cheating to get around diesel-emissions regulations, closing one chapter in a 3-year-old crisis even as new developments arise. Christoph Rauwald, latimes.com, "Volkswagen agrees to pay $1.2-billion fine as diesel-cheating crisis grinds on," 13 June 2018 The recall, for 52,831 Macan 3.0-liter V6 and 6,755 Cayenne 4.2-liter V8 vehicles, marks the latest setback in VW’s efforts to draw a line under the diesel-emissions scandal the world’s biggest carmaker has battled since September 2015. Christoph Rauwald, Bloomberg.com, "Porsche Slapped With Diesel Recall by German Regulator," 18 May 2018 Instead, its battery acts as an emergency backup in case of a failure of its primary source of electrons, a small diesel generator. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Workhorse brings an electric pickup truck, helicopter to Manhattan," 19 Aug. 2018 With that, the observatory could use the diesel generators to run its power-sucking radar. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "Puerto Rico's Observatory Is Still Recovering From Hurricane Maria," 15 June 2018 This is, of course, far from the first technology to create environmentally-friendly diesel. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Are Working to Turn Algae into Diesel Fuel," 12 Oct. 2018 The company attributed the shortfall to a recent recall of diesel vehicles. Fortune, "Auto Stocks Flop as Daimler Cuts Its Profit Expectations Because of the Brewing U.S.-China Trade War," 21 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of diesel


1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for diesel


Rudolf Diesel

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Statistics for diesel

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for diesel

The first known use of diesel was in 1894

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More Definitions for diesel



English Language Learners Definition of diesel

: a vehicle (such as a truck or bus) that has a diesel engine


die·​sel | \ˈdē-zəl, -səl\

Kids Definition of diesel

2 : a vehicle that has a diesel engine

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More from Merriam-Webster on diesel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with diesel

Spanish Central: Translation of diesel

Nglish: Translation of diesel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about diesel

Comments on diesel

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to make faulty or ineffective

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