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 The locomotive's engineer and conductor were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, according to Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "Hurricane Delta leaves two dead in Louisiana and knocks out power for hundreds of thousands," 12 Oct. 2020 After working as a recording engineer and songwriter for nine years, success came knocking. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "Singer A-Lex releases first full-length album 'From the Seed'," 12 Oct. 2020 The duo worked closely with engineer and mixer Paul Hicks to maintain the essence of the songs, which were completely remixed. Mesfin Fekadu,, "Sean Ono Lennon on remixing father’s music: It was therapy," 9 Oct. 2020 The crews, including the first electrical engineer and physicist astronauts, continued to monitor the medical effects of microgravity. National Geographic, "How the 'right stuff' to be an astronaut has changed over the years," 7 Oct. 2020 Two other Republicans — business owner Craig Carter of Nocona and software engineer Andy Hopper of Decatur — finished out the pack. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Shelley Luther, Drew Springer advance to runoff for state Senate special election in North Texas," 30 Sep. 2020 Shemar had made one about Bisi Ezerioha, the Nigerian American engineer and race car driver. Alec Macgillis, ProPublica, "The Students Left Behind by Remote Learning," 28 Sep. 2020 Lisa Gossett, an engineer and environmental attorney who serves as a board member of the Texas Health and Environmental Alliance, said further remediation at French Limited is necessary. NBC news, "A growing toxic threat — made worse by climate change," 24 Sep. 2020 The port city of 190,000 is especially prone to storm surge because surface winds can push water up Mobile Bay toward the city, said Scott Douglass, an environmental engineer and coastal zone expert in Fairhope, Ala. Daniel Cusick, Scientific American, "Hurricane Sally Rumbles Onshore with Echoes of Harvey," 16 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The athletic apparel brand has been struggling for several years with faltering sales in its key North American market and has been attempting to engineer a turnaround only to see the pandemic decimate the economy and consumer demand. Lorraine Mirabella,, "Under Armour says it did not breach the UCLA athlete uniform contract because COVID-19 disrupted sports season," 9 Oct. 2020 In addition to transforming medicine, CRISPR has the potential to be used to engineer plants to store more carbon or to withstand extremes of climate change, Doudna said from Berkeley. Anchorage Daily News, "Two scientists win Nobel chemistry prize for CRISPR gene-editing tool," 7 Oct. 2020 Easier to build it that way than to try to engineer a bulletproof hatch, even if that means your luggage could conceivably take some fire. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, "Are Armored Vehicles Like President Trump's 'Hermetically Sealed'?," 6 Oct. 2020 Although the compounds can come from the plant itself, some biotech firms are finding it’s cheaper to engineer them synthetically. Tiffany Kary,, "Race Is On for Synthetic Cannabinoids: Cannabis Weekly," 4 Oct. 2020 By early 1995, Aum had managed to amass enough true believers to engineer a terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway system. Matt Alt, The New Yorker, "The Flashing Warning of QAnon," 26 Sep. 2020 Absentee ballots begin hitting Wisconsin mailboxes in 16 days, just in time for President Trump to capitalize on civil unrest roiling Kenosha and engineer a comeback in this key Midwestern swing state. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Republicans fear Kenosha violence won’t help Trump best Biden in Wisconsin," 1 Sep. 2020 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

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

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Engineer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 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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