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 The Times analysis shows four inflection points in Mr. Biden’s fund-raising metamorphosis, beginning with one unwittingly provided last fall by Mr. Trump, whose presidency has been rocket fuel for Democratic fund-raising. Rachel Shorey, New York Times, "How Joe Biden Became the Unlikeliest of Online Fund-Raising Superstars," 14 Oct. 2020 The fact that the vast majority of people are still susceptible to some degree means that there is sufficient fuel for the fire to keep burning for quite some time. Popular Science, "COVID-19 might not ever truly go away," 13 Oct. 2020 The result taps into not only the challenges of a girl growing up in the 1960s, but also Markoe’s special ability to use traditions and American consumerist culture as fuel for her absurdist humor. Washington Post, "Comedian and writer Merrill Markoe dug deep into her childhood musings to explore memory," 8 Oct. 2020 When Delta powered up on late Monday and into Tuesday, the water that was warm enough to be fuel to make the storm stronger extended about 245 feet deep, Masters said. NBC News, "Warming makes Delta, other storms power up faster, experts warn," 8 Oct. 2020 The broader package will help build hydrogen as a fuel for heavy industry, spur carbon capture technology and a ban on the sale of petrol cars, according to two people familiar with Johnson’s thinking. Jess Shankleman, Bloomberg.com, "Johnson Backs Green Investment as Cure for U.K. Covid Slump," 5 Oct. 2020 Last year, the company — which says its fleet is 39 percent more fuel efficient than other airlines — celebrated its eco-friendly Green Week by offering free vouchers to people with the last name Green or Greene to fly on Aug. 13. Rachel Chang, Travel + Leisure, "If Your First or Last Name Is Orlando, You Can Fly to Florida for Free," 30 Sep. 2020 Some of the land now being used as fuel for the Glass Fire has not burned for a century, while crews are now using old containment lines to fight the current fire, relieved slightly by easing winds. Fox News, "California wildfire rages through Napa Valley as Glass Fire brings residents 'fire fatigue'," 28 Sep. 2020 That neighbor’s home was untouched, the green grass offering little to no fuel for the fire. oregonlive, "Locals band together, grieve amid remains of Beachie Creek wildfire devastation," 26 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb With household gatherings already helping drive the surge of cases, experts worry large celebrations will continue to fuel the spread within American communities. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "The US topped 1,000 daily Covid-19 deaths and experts worry the worst of the fall surge is yet to come," 22 Oct. 2020 Black and Apollo are now trying to dispel the cloud over the company, which depends on multibillion-dollar fundraisings to fuel its earnings and has already seen its stock take a hit. Heather Perlberg, Bloomberg.com, "Leon Black’s Epstein Links Threaten Apollo’s Fundraising," 21 Oct. 2020 Keurig is a machine: How the beverage giant is leveraging A.I. to fuel growth By Shawn Tully (Some of these stories require a subscription to access. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "How tech’s most powerful women faced down the pandemic," 19 Oct. 2020 But as climate change continues to fuel dry conditions in the American West, many experts say it’s long past time to shift the focus back to managing healthy forests that can better withstand fire and add to a more sustainable future. NBC News, "Decades of mismanagement led to choked forests — now it's time to clear them out, fire experts say," 18 Oct. 2020 Even small amounts of phosphorus runoff from farms and sewage are enough to fuel algal blooms that fill waterways with festering green scum. Julia Rosen, National Geographic, "Farmers are facing a phosphorus crisis. The solution starts with soil.," 14 Oct. 2020 Wealthy Americans are snapping up new, multimillion dollar homes in exclusive resort communities as the coronavirus pandemic continues to fuel a work-from-home lifestyle that no longer tethers workers to the office five days a week. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "Pandemic boosts sales of luxury homes in resort communities," 7 Oct. 2020 Planning for the push began in June, with a goal to fuel census participation, increase voter registration and, ultimately, boost voter turnout for the November election. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers releasing ‘Rip City Votes Kits’ as part of effort to boost voter turnout," 7 Oct. 2020 Muhammad, an Olympic bronze medalist who became the first U.S. woman to compete in the Olympic Games wearing a hijab in 2016, uses the doubts of others to fuel her success. Analis Bailey, USA TODAY, "Ibtihaj Muhammad, Mariah Stackhouse won't let expectations weigh them down," 6 Oct. 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

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fuel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fuel. Accessed 26 Oct. 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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Comments on fuel

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