en·​gi·​neer | \ ˌen-jə-ˈnir How to pronounce engineer (audio) \

Definition of engineer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a member of a military group devoted to engineering work
2 obsolete : a crafty schemer : plotter
3a : a designer or builder of engines
b : a person who is trained in or follows as a profession a branch of engineering
c : a person who carries through an enterprise by skillful or artful contrivance
4 : a person who runs or supervises an engine or an apparatus


engineered; engineering; engineers

Definition of engineer (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to lay out, construct, or manage as an engineer engineer a bridge
2a : to contrive or plan out usually with more or less subtle skill and craft engineer a business deal
b : to guide the course of engineer a rally
3 : to modify or produce by genetic engineering corn engineered to resist crop pests

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Choose the Right Synonym for engineer


guide, lead, steer, pilot, engineer mean to direct in a course or show the way to be followed. guide implies intimate knowledge of the way and of all its difficulties and dangers. guided the scouts through the cave lead implies showing the way and often keeping those that follow under control and in order. led his team to victory steer implies an ability to keep to a course and stresses the capacity of maneuvering correctly. steered the ship through a narrow channel pilot suggests guidance over a dangerous or complicated course. piloted the bill through the Senate engineer implies finding ways to avoid or overcome difficulties in achieving an end or carrying out a plan. engineered his son's election to the governorship

Examples of engineer in a Sentence

Noun Design engineers are working on ways to make the cars run more efficiently. The engineer stopped the train. Army engineers were called in to construct the canal. Verb The rebels engineered a successful attack. the mayor engineered an agreement to have a major league team play in our city
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Patriarch Georges-Henri Meylan, who was CEO of Audemars Piguet for 21 years, entrusted the running of Moser to his then 35-year-old son Edouard Meylan, an engineer and Wharton MBA who was lured back to his ancestral industry. Daniel Bentley, Fortune, "A Q&A with the provocative mind behind watchmaker H. Moser," 21 Sep. 2020 The crew also included longtime engineer Al Rosenberg and statistician Mike Bratta, as well as another industry vet, Joe Abramson, who works as a spotter to help identify names, numbers and anything else that happens on the field. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Lions radio team didn't attend game in Green Bay due to COVID-19. Here's how they called it," 21 Sep. 2020 Mast worked his way up from combat engineer to bomb technician, ultimately working with Special Operations units. Brittany Bernstein, National Review, "Reflections from Representative Brian Mast," 20 Sep. 2020 Gresley turned to Joe Duddington, an engineer with 27 years on the footplate, paired with Fireman Tommy Bray. Tom Bentley, Popular Mechanics, "Why the 4468 Mallard Is Such a Badass Train," 20 Sep. 2020 Abhishek Gautam, a 30-year-old mechanical engineer, was in Delhi in March when borders shut. Washington Post, "Singapore — a poster child for globalism — is taking a nativist turn," 20 Sep. 2020 Rogers credits Chief Executive Steve Mollenkopf, an engineer with deep roots in the company’s chip division, for sticking with licensing during the turmoil. Mike Freeman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "After six years of attacks, Qualcomm finally sees stability return to patent licensing," 20 Sep. 2020 Bartley Maheu, main stationary engineer, was selected as the hospital’s April’s SuperStar of the Month. Times Staff,, "Business briefs: Carroll Hospital recognizes monthly ‘SuperStars’; agricultural lender gives additional patronage distribution," 19 Sep. 2020 So far, the district has received $65,000 in grant money to study Shamineau’s flooding and engineer solutions, and expects another $52,000. Jennifer Bjorhus, Star Tribune, "With climate change, Minnesotans fight for homes and cabins on a runaway lake," 19 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Pre-register to download instructions and sign up for stories and songs about magical unicorns, or learn about watercolor painting, how to engineer a paper airplane or catch a Latin-flavor cooking demo. Mary Lou Cruz,, "Calendar: Virtual community, entertainment events beginning Sept. 23," 20 Sep. 2020 Today, biochemists engineer proteins to fight infections, produce biofuels, and improve food stability. Matthew Hutson, The New Yorker, "Scientists Advance on One of Technology’s Holy Grails," 18 Sep. 2020 Understanding how chemicals do (or do not) affect structure may help scientists engineer better products. Jillian Kramer, Scientific American, "Structure and Chemistry Dictate How Cicada Wings Repel Water and Kill Bacteria," 14 Sep. 2020 The task for today’s architects is to re-engineer the kind of architectural durability and environmental sensitivity that past generations took for granted — all while nature itself grows more unforgiving. David Walter, Washington Post, "As floods, fires and extreme temperatures worsen, these designers are making the case for resilient building," 14 Sep. 2020 With that mentality, Jackson and Lynn helped engineer an 11-play 80 yards drive that culminated in a Harris touchdown. J.l. Kirven, The Enquirer, "Princeton beats Colerain for the first time since 1997, 41-37," 12 Sep. 2020 The Detroit carmaker will engineer and contract manufacture the Badger truck for Nikola. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "The Capital Note: Cities after COVID & GM’s Electric Vehicle Push," 8 Sep. 2020 General Motors has agreed to engineer and build the upcoing Nikola Badger pickup, including electric and hydrogen fuel-cell variants. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "General Motors Will Engineer and Build Nikola’s Badger Pickup," 8 Sep. 2020 Nvidia needed to re-engineer its entire design to make this work. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs: 5 things PC gamers need to know," 2 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'engineer.' 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 engineer


circa 1635, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1828, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for engineer


Middle English engineour, from Anglo-French, from enginer to devise, construct, from engin

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Time Traveler for engineer

Time Traveler

The first known use of engineer was circa 1635

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Statistics for engineer

Last Updated

24 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Engineer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for engineer


How to pronounce engineer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of engineer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who has scientific training and who designs and builds complicated products, machines, systems, or structures : a person who specializes in a branch of engineering
: a person who runs or is in charge of an engine in an airplane, a ship, etc.
US : a person who runs a train



English Language Learners Definition of engineer (Entry 2 of 2)

: to plan, build, or manage (something) by using scientific methods
: to produce or plan (something) especially in a clever and skillful way
technical : to change the genetic structure of (a plant or animal)


en·​gi·​neer | \ ˌen-jə-ˈnir How to pronounce engineer (audio) \

Kids Definition of engineer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who designs and builds machinery or technical equipment : a person who studies or works in a branch of engineering an electrical engineer
2 : a person who runs or is in charge of a railroad engine or other machinery or technical equipment


engineered; engineering

Kids Definition of engineer (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to plan, build, or manage as an engineer They engineered a faster race car.
2 : to plan out in a skillful or clever way : contrive The general engineered the defeat of the enemy.
en·​gi·​neer | \ ˌen-jə-ˈni(ə)r How to pronounce engineer (audio) \

Medical Definition of engineer

: to modify or produce by genetic engineering insulin made by genetically engineered bacteriaTechnical Survey

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