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 The new mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette made its first public appearance as GM CEO Mary Barra and chief engineer Tadge Juechter cruised about New York City. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Fraud and bribery? OK, but that doesn't win the case for General Motors," 21 Nov. 2019 Somewhere above us, a single-engine plane was using LIDAR technology to penetrate patches of forest and capture images of structures that have long lain undetected beneath the dense foliage. Joshua Hammer, Smithsonian, "The Hidden City of Myanmar," 21 Nov. 2019 In the case of one of the new problems — a rudder cable alleged to have inadequate protection from engine failure — DeFazio claims that FAA leaders overruled their own technical specialists who had alerted superiors to the problems. oregonlive, "DeFazio leads Congressional charge against Boeing, FAA," 9 Nov. 2019 The single-engine craft came down in the bedroom community of Upland, which is about 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, San Bernardino County firefighters said. NBC News, "Small plane crashes into house outside of Los Angeles," 7 Nov. 2019 The plane was a fixed-wing single-engine Cessna manufactured in 1977, according to FAA records. BostonGlobe.com, "The pilot who died in a plane crash in New Bedford Monday afternoon was a 74-year-old Westport man who loved to fly, according to his family.," 6 Nov. 2019 Obey and Sunseeker are mired in a legal dispute that Obey claims started when the manufacturer refused to take responsibility for a catastrophic engine failure on the maiden voyage of one of Obey’s customers in May 2018. Ron Hurtibise, sun-sentinel.com, "Yacht placed ‘under arrest’ at boat show over $4 million dispute," 5 Nov. 2019 Kayla Rodriguez, 23, and Justin Winfrey, 47, left a Novato airport in Winfrey’s single-engine plane on Oct. 24 and touched down for dinner at Gyppo Ale Mill in Mendocino County before departing after dark from Shelter Cove Airport. Anna Bauman, SFChronicle.com, "Family calls off search for SF pair who went missing in plane, crash suspected," 5 Nov. 2019 Away from the camera, the company has also begun a series of safety tests, including for engine failures, flap failures, and fuse blowouts on the ground and in the skies. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Germany's Air Taxi Takes Flight," 23 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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

24 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Engine.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/engines. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on engine

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for engine

Spanish Central: Translation of engine

Nglish: Translation of engine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of engine for Arabic Speakers

Comments on engine

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


very cautious or careful

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