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 Because for most of us, that’s what restaurants are: Not just fuel, but entertainment. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "In shutting down restaurants, coronavirus stole from San Antonians our rituals, our comfort zones," 16 May 2020 Credit card purchases tracked by JPMorgan Chase found that spending on such necessities as groceries, fuel, phone service and auto repair declined 20% on a year-over-year basis. Josh Boak, USA TODAY, "Retails sales plunge by record 16% in April as COVID-19 hit sales of clothes and furniture extra hard," 15 May 2020 Credit card purchases tracked by JPMorgan Chase found that spending on such necessities as groceries, fuel, phone service and auto repair declined 20% on a year-over-year basis. Time, "U.S. Retail Sales Plunged a Record 16% in April As Coronavirus Swept the Country," 15 May 2020 The facility at Katunga in Victoria state is the first of its kind in Australia, the company said in a media statement, converting organic waste materials such as cereal straw into electricity, renewable diesel and jet fuel, and fertilizer. James Thornhill, Bloomberg.com, "Australia in Landmark $1.3 Billion Project to Turn Farm Waste to Energy," 15 May 2020 The chemical — which is used in rocket fuel, among other applications — has been under study for more than a decade, but because contamination is widespread, regulations have been difficult. Lisa Friedman, New York Times, "E.P.A. Opts Against Limits on Water Contaminant Tied to Fetal Damage," 14 May 2020 Lockdowns aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus are reducing demand for aviation and driving fuels, particularly in the United States, Europe and India, the organization said. Washington Post, "U.S. wholesale prices slide record 1.3% for April, threatening deflation," 13 May 2020 Cuts will be made in several areas, including salaries, overtime, fuel, utilities and other areas. Peter Krouse, cleveland, "Greater Cleveland RTA expecting huge reductions in fare collections and sales tax revenue," 12 May 2020 His tanks out of fuel, his men starving, Schönbeck shrank from a strapping young man to a 99-pound shadow. Robert Clark, National Geographic, "‘I have had, in my life, whole squadrons of guardian angels looking after me. There’s no other way.’," 6 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When these penguins poop, fueled by a diet of fish, squid and krill, nitrogen is released from their feces into the ground. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "Antarctic penguins release an extreme amount of laughing gas in their feces, it turns out," 19 May 2020 Southeastern Wisconsin had a 10.4% drop in sales, fueled partly by a 29.9% sales drop in Walworth County. John Steppe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Fewer homes listed, sold in April but Realtors say a rebound is coming," 15 May 2020 Facebook Gaming saw the biggest increase at 238%, to 291 million hours, fueled in part by the release of its own mobile app. Fortune, "What took Uber so long to protect drivers and riders?," 14 May 2020 During an episode fueled by alcohol and drugs, Thompson and another person went to the pastor's home for money. Kristi Tanner, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan ranks highest in nation for prisoner deaths from coronavirus," 9 May 2020 My mom’s career, fueled by similarly sharp political instincts, was decidedly less visible and far less lucrative than Axelrod’s, but her impact behind the scenes was enormous. Amy Saltzman, Washington Post, "She was a trusted behind-the-scenes force in Chicago politics. Then she met a young Barack Obama, in whom she saw vast potential.," 6 May 2020 Since her drowning in 1981, however, her legacy has been colored by speculation and lurid tell-alls, fueled at least in part by the reopening of the police investigation into her death decades later. Los Angeles Times, "Intimate portraits piece together the puzzle of Natalie Wood, the person and mother," 5 May 2020 That’s because as revenue suffers, utilities might be opting to get more electricity from wind and solar farms, which cost little to operate, and less from power plants fueled by fossil fuels. New York Times, "Stocks Waver as China Tensions Climb," 4 May 2020 With an array of promising vaccine technologies fueled by early scientific openness, dozens of vaccine efforts kicked off blindingly fast in dozens of countries. Carolyn Johnson, Anchorage Daily News, "Inside the extraordinary race to invent a coronavirus vaccine," 3 May 2020

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

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fuel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fuel. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for fuel


How to pronounce fuel (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on fuel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fuel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fuel

Spanish Central: Translation of fuel

Nglish: Translation of fuel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fuel for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fuel

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