en·​gine | \ ˈen-jən How to pronounce engine (audio) \

Definition of engine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a machine for converting any of various forms of energy into mechanical force and motion also : a mechanism or object that serves as an energy source black holes may be the engines for quasars
2 : a railroad locomotive
3a : something used to effect a purpose : agent, instrument mournful and terrible engine of horror and of crime— E. A. Poe
b : something that produces a particular and usually desirable result engines of economic growth
b : any of various mechanical appliances often used in combinationfire engine
c : a mechanical tool: such as
(1) : an instrument or machine of war
(2) obsolete : a torture implement
5 : computer software that performs a fundamental function especially of a larger program
6 obsolete
b : evil contrivance : wile


engined; engining

Definition of engine (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to equip with engines

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Other Words from engine


engineless adjective

Synonyms for engine

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of engine in a Sentence

Noun The car has a four-cylinder engine. tanks, planes, and other engines of war The tax cut could be an engine of economic growth.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Proponents have long touted the project as an economic development engine that will help attract business to the Fairfield area south of Westwego, the last large swath of undeveloped land. Chad Calder | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Will $30M youth sports complex attract business to Westwego? Jefferson Parish officials hope so," 25 Dec. 2020 Elsewhere, Kasbah du Toubkal was set up in Morocco in 1995 to support the local Berber people by creating an economic engine in one of the Atlas Mountains' most remote but beautiful areas. Melinda Stevens, Condé Nast Traveler, "Editor's Letter: The New Gold Standard of Hotels," 22 Dec. 2020 An engine that pulls with this much intensity and emits a bellow that can be heard for miles would be the obvious choice. Eric Tingwall, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Hauls Even on Street Tires," 18 Dec. 2020 No talk of an infrastructure plan to improve traffic around Atlanta, or of supporting the Port of Savannah, an economic engine in the state. Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times, "Biden, Trump and AOC aren’t in Georgia’s Senate runoffs. But they’ve got star roles," 15 Dec. 2020 Life in Connecticut is better for so many because of the tournament, the week-long focal point for an engine that runs year-round, year after year, with or without fans or a virus' disruption. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: Travelers Championship’s biggest winners are the people and charities of Connecticut, even in pandemic-stricken 2020," 22 Oct. 2020 Yes, for an engine in a car things also get hot from all of the burning gasoline. Rhett Allain, Wired, "What Even Is Friction, Anyway?," 21 Oct. 2020 Examples include a smart speaker or an engine that relays information via sensors. Emily Bamforth, cleveland, "Cleveland’s Internet of Things collaborative to launch research hubs on community, business solutions," 20 Oct. 2020 James and Davis are still the engine that drives the Lakers. Matt Eppers, USA TODAY, "NBA opening night: Everything to know for Nets vs. Warriors and Lakers vs. Clippers," 23 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Changes to the truck, from chassis to body to engine to interior, reflect consumer needs, requests and complaints. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Ford’s new F-150: America’s favorite pickup goes hybrid (in more ways than one)," 2 Jan. 2021 Changes to the truck, from chassis to body to engine to interior, reflect consumer needs, requests and complaints. Dallas News, "Ford’s new F-150: America’s favorite pickup goes hybrid (in more ways than one)," 26 Dec. 2020 But even the most iron stomachs can only take so much screen flicker within VR before churning, and that makes MSFS's demanding 3D engine a terrible fit for the dream of hours-long VR flight... at least, for the time being. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Microsoft Flight Simulator in VR: A turbulent start for wide-open skies," 23 Dec. 2020 Why can't engine manufacturers come up with an engine similar to what is on the more fuel-efficient aircraft — for example, producing a version of the engine that is on a 787 or a 777 — to fit and safely propel the 747? John Cox, USA TODAY, "Ask the Captain: Can the 747 be saved?," 29 Oct. 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6a


1841, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for engine


Middle English engin, from Anglo-French, from Latin ingenium natural disposition, talent, from in- + gignere to beget — more at kin

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Time Traveler for engine

Time Traveler

The first known use of engine was in the 14th century

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Statistics for engine

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Engine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/engine. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for engine


How to pronounce engine (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of engine

: a machine that changes energy (such as heat from burning fuel) into mechanical motion
: the vehicle that pulls a train
: something that is used for a particular purpose


en·​gine | \ ˈen-jən How to pronounce engine (audio) \

Kids Definition of engine

1 : a mechanical tool or device tanks, planes, and other engines of war
2 : a machine for driving or operating something especially by using the energy of steam, gasoline, or oil

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