noun, often attributive
fu·​el | \ ˈfyü(-ə)l How to pronounce fuel (audio) \

Definition of fuel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a material used to produce heat or power by burning
b : nutritive material
c : a material from which atomic energy can be liberated especially in a reactor
2 : a source of sustenance or incentive : reinforcement


fueled or fuelled; fueling or fuelling

Definition of fuel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to provide with fuel
2 : support, stimulate movement is fueled by massive grants-in-aid— Allen Schick

intransitive verb

: to take in fuel often used with up

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Synonyms for fuel

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of fuel in a Sentence

Noun I had the fuel pump replaced on my car. These latest scandals will provide further fuel for his political opponents. These latest accusations will only add fuel to the controversy. The controversy continues to rage, and these latest accusations will only add fuel to the fire. Verb The airplanes were fueled in midair. The criticism she has faced has only fueled her determination to succeed. Inflation was fueled by high prices. The strong economy has fueled the construction of new homes.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But Emerson Clauss, co-owner of Allegiance Construction & Development in Northbridge, said the shift to electric heat still relies heavily on natural gas, the most prevalent fuel source for New England’s power plants. BostonGlobe.com, "Heating oil industry fights Mass. effort to eliminate rebates for fossil fuel heating and appliances," 1 Apr. 2021 But a carbon tax, not unlike the fuel tax Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg first proposed on Monday then immediately walked back, comes with the risk of sparking unnecessary political backlash for little discernible gain. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Don’t Fall for the Carbon Tax Trap," 31 Mar. 2021 The clinic has not received a fuel shipment since December and is down to its last 60 liters of diesel for the electricity generator that powers incubators for premature babies. New York Times, "Famine Stalks Yemen, as War Drags On and Foreign Aid Wanes," 31 Mar. 2021 Electrifying the fleets would also offer the companies savings in annual fuel costs, $550,000 for Schneider and $750,000 for NFI. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: The major emissions policy Biden tucked into his infrastructure spending plan," 31 Mar. 2021 All this helps explain why fuel duty has been frozen for a decade, to the dismay of environmental campaigners and Treasury officials. The Economist, "The truth behind the Tories’ northern strongholds," 31 Mar. 2021 The cold, low-lying areas are rich with all sorts of resources, particularly water ice, which could be used to support life on the moon or manufacture rocket fuel. Asa Stahl, Chron, "Moon bases could feature mile-high skyscrapers," 31 Mar. 2021 Owners will be notified by mail in late May and dealers will replace the fuel pumps for free. NBC News, "Honda recalls over 628,000 vehicles to replace fuel pumps," 31 Mar. 2021 Once there, a fireman enters the brush carrying a drip torch — a metal canister holding liquid fuel that helps ignite a wick at its end. Andre Toran, The Courier-Journal, "Fighting fire with fire. Why controlled burns are vital for Kentucky's national forests," 31 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But, Clarke noted, contemporary health care inequalities experienced by people of color also fuel vulnerability to disinformation. Nada Hassanein, USA TODAY, "'You can't trust the government': Spanish-speaking social media spreads COVID-19 vaccine disinformation, adds to hesitancy," 29 Mar. 2021 Since his failure to accept defeat to Joe Biden, which critics say helped fuel the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, Republicans have debated whether to continue to embrace Trump or dump him for new leaders. Dallas News, "Trump looms large in North Texas congressional race to replace Ron Wright," 29 Mar. 2021 Another big problem will be fire danger as the gusty conditions combined with warm temperatures and dry weather will fuel the potential for the starting and spreading of fires. Janice Dean, Fox News, "National weather forecast: High winds to stretch from Rockies to Plains," 29 Mar. 2021 Those early experiences at Western, and finding a mentor in Beauregard, reaffirmed to Larmony that representation matters, and helped fuel her desire to open doors for others. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Jessica Larmony opening doors, blazing trails as Detroit Lions scouting operations manager," 28 Mar. 2021 The combination of record-low mortgage rates and urbanites seeking more space in the suburbs helped fuel demand. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "Housing Can Weather This," 23 Mar. 2021 At stake is the future of these fish—which fuel the food chains of billfish, shark, and other larger tuna—and the future of a pantry staple that most North Americans take for granted as something that will always be one shopping trip away. Christopher Pollon, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Will Commercial Fishing Pressure Affect Skipjack Tuna?," 23 Mar. 2021 Nifty Gateway prioritized accessibility and usability, helping fuel wider adoption. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "NFTs Are Shaking Up the Art World—But They Could Change So Much More," 22 Mar. 2021 The fact that unaccompanied minors are being allowed into the U.S. for the first time in months has helped fuel rumors that the border is open to children. Los Angeles Times, "Border crossings on pace for two-decade high as smugglers exploit high hopes for Biden," 20 Mar. 2021

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1592, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for fuel


Middle English fewel, from Anglo-French fuail, feuaile, from Vulgar Latin *focalia, from Latin focus hearth

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Time Traveler for fuel

Time Traveler

The first known use of fuel was in the 13th century

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Statistics for fuel

Last Updated

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fuel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fuel. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for fuel



English Language Learners Definition of fuel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a material (such as coal, oil, or gas) that is burned to produce heat or power
: something that gives support or strength to something (such as argument or angry feelings)



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

: to supply (something) with fuel
: to take in fuel
: to give support or strength to (something)


fu·​el | \ ˈfyü-əl How to pronounce fuel (audio) \

Kids Definition of fuel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a substance (as oil or gasoline) that can be burned to produce heat or power


fueled or fuelled; fueling or fuelling

Kids Definition of fuel (Entry 2 of 2)

: to supply with or take on fuel

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Comments on fuel

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