die·​sel | \ ˈdē-zəl How to pronounce diesel (audio) , -səl\

Definition of diesel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : a vehicle driven by a diesel engine


biographical name
Die·​sel | \ ˈdē-zəl How to pronounce Diesel (audio) , -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

The average price of diesel fell 1.2 cents to $3.08 per gallon. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Gas prices and tariffs: Why gas dropping under $2 a gallon might cost you," 5 June 2019 Each day, 35,000 gallons of diesel are trucked in as well, to run massive generators that power air conditioners in the summer and heaters on winter nights. Garance Burke And Martha Mendoza, The Seattle Times, "US waived FBI checks on staff at growing teen migrant camp," 28 Nov. 2018 Take Volkswagen: after betting big on diesel—and losing—the automaker is going full-speed ahead on electrification. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Volkswagen plans to make 50 million electric cars, CEO says," 12 Nov. 2018 This 133-year-old train line, nicknamed for its diesel fumes, winds through the forest for more than 40 miles. Jody Rosen, Smithsonian, "This Secret Corner of California Is a Paradise for Lovers of Great Food and Top-Notch Wines," 14 June 2018 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV will pay $110 million to settle a longstanding lawsuit alleging that the auto maker misled U.S. investors regarding safety concerns and excess diesel emissions, according to court documents. Patrick Thomas, WSJ, "Fiat Chrysler to Settle Lawsuit for $110 Million," 8 Apr. 2019 General Motors built the LaGrange plant in the 1930s to manufacture diesel-electric train locomotives for GM’s then-new Electro-Motive Division. Bob Tita, WSJ, "Caterpillar to Close Texas Plant, Review Illinois Factory," 16 Mar. 2018 Brightline's diesel-electric powered trains feature a variety of amenities, including retractable platforms that facilitate easy boarding, bike racks, wide aisles and free wireless Internet. USA TODAY, "Brightline to begin higher-speed passenger-rail service in South Florida Saturday," 11 Jan. 2018 The threat of driving bans is already causing the market share of diesel vehicles to collapse. Wolfgang Kerler, The Verge, "You thought Dieselgate was over? It’s not.," 18 Sep. 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

11 Jun 2019

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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 How to pronounce diesel (audio) , -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

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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