internal combustion engine


Definition of internal combustion engine

: a heat engine in which the combustion that generates the heat takes place inside the engine proper instead of in a furnace

Examples of internal combustion engine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Historically, plug-in hybrids have been stepping-stone cars, half-measure predecessors to cars that ditch the internal combustion engine altogether. Wired, "The Polestar 1 Is a Powerful Throwback Treat—Like Licorice," 5 Nov. 2019 California’s car buyers are shifting their loyalties from the internal combustion engine to electric batteries—but ever so slowly. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "Electric cars are finally taking a (tiny) bite out of combustion engine sales," 14 Sep. 2019 Protectionism failed to create any world-beating Chinese car makers in the era of the internal combustion engine. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "A New Road for Electric Vehicles in China," 25 June 2019 In fact, gasoline was a byproduct that served no effective use until the internal combustion engine was developed, and cost money to store, so Rockefeller simply dumped it into the river. Vince Guerrieri, Popular Mechanics, "Smoke on the Water: 50 Years After the Cuyahoga Fire," 20 June 2019 Automakers are also facing regulatory pressure from the Chinese government to increase the share of battery cars and hybrids, which combine a battery with an internal combustion engine. David Mchugh, USA TODAY, "Volkswagen accelerates electric cars forecast, predicts it will produce 1 million per year by 2023," 28 Dec. 2019 All of this will happen in a slow transition with some overlap as internal combustion engines (ICE) are phased out and electric vehicles (EVs) are introduced, Steve Carlisle, Cadillac president, said Thursday. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "Cadillac has big changes ahead for its lineup and manufacturing," 12 Dec. 2019 Maintenance costs will be lower as well for electric motors compared to internal combustion engines, which have more moving parts creating much more extreme conditions. Dan Catchpole, Fortune, "Electric-Powered Commercial Airplane Makes History," 10 Dec. 2019 Electric cars, which have fewer parts than those powered by internal combustion engines, require fewer workers to assemble. Charles Riley, CNN, "The car industry's electric upheaval claims another 10,000 jobs," 29 Nov. 2019

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

1884, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for internal combustion engine

Time Traveler

The first known use of internal combustion engine was in 1884

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Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Internal combustion engine.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for internal combustion engine

internal combustion engine


English Language Learners Definition of internal combustion engine

: a type of engine that is used for most vehicles : an engine in which the fuel is burned within engine cylinders

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