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

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 Wordle was created by Josh Wardle, a software engineer from New York. Joseph Pisani, WSJ, 19 Jan. 2022 Jason Coombs, a software engineer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, whose mother died of COVID-19 in October, has found his grief to be laced with anger. Andrea Stanley, The Atlantic, 18 Jan. 2022 Seeing the then 29-year-old software engineer from Salt Lake City night after night captivated folks watching from home and many grew invested in his victories. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, 17 Jan. 2022 Yoshimura’ s company, CY Investments, is partnering with Seth Andersen, a structural engineer and developer who built a string of compact homes near downtown Anchorage as a step toward addressing housing shortages there. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, 15 Jan. 2022 Arlis, an architectural engineer from Batavia, Ill., appeared on the 15th season of The Bachelorette, competing against fellow contestant Nick Viall for a chance at a relationship with Britt Nilsson. Andrea Towers,, 14 Jan. 2022 Jesús Alberto Guzmán Curipoma, an engineer from Ecuador who hoped to submit a request for asylum, was arrested in September 2021 at a railroad switching yard in Kinney County on a criminal trespassing charge. Armando Garcia, ABC News, 14 Jan. 2022 Launched publicly in October last year, the game was originally created by Josh Wardle, a software engineer from Wales living in New York, for his partner, Palak Shah, who loves puzzles. Washington Post, 13 Jan. 2022 The Judicial Council brought in a structural engineer to assess the condition of the building and figure out why the ceiling collapsed, Corren said. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Similar transgenic gain-of-function approaches will help scientists engineer plants for drought or pest resistance, and ultimately feed more people in a warming world. Victor Dirita, STAT, 25 Dec. 2021 If the Democrats can engineer a change to the SALT deduction that is retroactive to cover 2021 taxes, those incumbents can campaign on having provided a tax cut, Ms. Roginsky said. New York Times, 18 Nov. 2021 Concern also grew about the possibility that other players may combine cohorts with additional data signals to enable individual identification and reverse-engineer them to create unique profiles. Sergii Denysenko, Forbes, 7 Oct. 2021 Atlantic inched closer to the top spot of the rankings behind freshman quarterback Lincoln Graf, who helped engineer a 33-14 win over Glades Central. Gary Curreri,, 14 Sep. 2021 As protests continued, Kolesnikova helped set up a national Coordination Council, an opposition initiative to try to engineer a peaceful transition of power. Washington Post, 6 Sep. 2021 But rather than step aside and allow for a quick vote, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has helped engineer an unusual legislative process that will play out over the next several days. Kevin Freking, Lisa Mascaro, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Dec. 2021 Within the superyacht sector PHI’s fine – and therefore very fuel-efficient – hull lines, together with her very low profile, are considered to be a great challenge to engineer and build. Bill Springer, Forbes, 4 Nov. 2021 Grammy-winning conductor Peter Rutenberg, who was nominated for a Classical Producer of the Year Grammy Award in 2011, will be coming from Los Angeles to engineer and produce. Beth Wood, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Oct. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near engineer

engine driver


engineer's brake valve

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Statistics for engineer

Last Updated

28 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Engineer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for engineer



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.
: 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
: 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.


transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on engineer

Nglish: Translation of engineer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of engineer for Arabic Speakers


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