lo·​co·​mo·​tive | \ ˌlō-kə-ˈmō-tiv \

Definition of locomotive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : of or relating to travel
3 : of, relating to, or being a machine that moves about by operation of its own mechanism



Definition of locomotive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a self-propelled vehicle that runs on rails and is used for moving railroad cars
2 : a school or college cheer characterized by a slow beginning and a progressive increase in speed

Examples of locomotive in a Sentence


the locomotive ability of spiders

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

NJ Transit has taken steps to address these issues by recruiting and training additional locomotive engineers. Lukas Mikelionis, Fox News, "Dem governor flees to $7M Italian vacation home as political, personal problems mount," 1 Aug. 2018 The company’s decision to spin off health care and separate Baker Hughes comes a month after Mr. Flannery agreed to leave the railroad locomotive business in an $11 billion deal. Thomas Gryta, WSJ, "GE Narrows Focus to Power, Aviation in Latest Revamp," 26 June 2018 The 1950s: Brother X and Brother Not X collected toy trains with everything from a locomotive whistle to a helicopter-launching car thundering along the track. Kevin Fisher-paulson, SFChronicle.com, "On the town — or in this house, many towns," 3 July 2018 Now, thanks to an analysis of data collected from 40,000 smartphone users around the world, a new property of humanity’s locomotive habits has been revealed. The Economist, "At any given time in their lives, people have two dozen regular haunts," 28 June 2018 The two businesses, coupled with its railroad locomotive unit that is being sold, accounted for a third of GE’s $122 billion in revenue last year. Thomas Gryta, WSJ, "GE Narrows Focus to Power, Aviation in Latest Revamp," 26 June 2018 Weeks later, the South African media revealed the majority owner of Trillian as none other than Salim Essa, the Gupta associate whose shell companies had received more than $100 million in the locomotive deal. New York Times, "How McKinsey Lost Its Way in South Africa," 26 June 2018 The largest divestiture this year is an $11 billion deal to sell its locomotive unit. Alexander Coolidge, Cincinnati.com, "GE breakup so far eludes Nelson Peltz. What does that mean for P&G?," 25 June 2018 Long-Term Research Studies in the past have looked at animals’ locomotive performance, or their ability to move, and at their survival rates. National Geographic, "Birds That Leave Nest Too Late Can Endanger Their Families," 25 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The train catapulted the locomotive to the side and ran into a station overpass, which collapsed on the carriages. Yeliz Candemir, WSJ, "Fatal Train Crash Near Turkish Capital," 13 Dec. 2018 To keep the power and profits flowing day and night, GE connected neighborhoods with streetcars and cities with locomotives. Thomas Gryta And Ted Mann, WSJ, "GE Powered the American Century—Then It Burned Out," 14 Dec. 2018 The derailment involved an 88-car freight train that was carrying stone and pulled by two Norfolk Southern locomotives, officials said. Philly.com, "Amtrak resuming service, SEPTA still suspended after freight train derails in Delco," 3 May 2018 After taking the helm last year, the chief executive promised to shed businesses — from lighting to locomotives — in a bid to simplify the beleaguered manufacturer. Richard Clough, BostonGlobe.com, "GE pushes ahead on revamp with $1.05 billion sale of health IT businesses," 2 Apr. 2018 Team member Patryk Radyjowski told Ars that the team partnered with a company called Airfloat, which makes wide air bearings for moving heavy objects, like locomotives, slowly across a warehouse floor. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Student engineers build hyperloop test pods with commercial-class top speeds," 23 July 2018 The agency has posted some impressive numbers: 100 percent of its locomotives equipped. 100 percent of its employees trained. 100 percent of its track rigged to run with PTC. Jason Laughlin, Philly.com, "How SEPTA got it right on a critical railroad safety system," 3 July 2018 Norfolk Southern spokesman Jim Glass said the westbound train heading from northern New Jersey to Chicago consisted of three locomotives and 57 loaded intermodal rail cars, and was 7,687 feet long and weighed 4,838 tons. Frank Miles, Fox News, "Chaotic Pittsburgh freight train derailment blocks light rail tracks," 5 Aug. 2018 When Flannery’s done, GE will bear little resemblance to the conglomerate that once counted NBC, home-appliances, plastic, locomotives and a sprawling finance unit among its operations. Rick Clough, Bloomberg.com, "GE Exits Health, Oil as CEO Shrinks Onetime Titan to Save It," 26 June 2018

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


1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1829, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for locomotive

The first known use of locomotive was in 1612

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More Definitions for locomotive



English Language Learners Definition of locomotive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

technical : of or relating to movement from place to place : of or relating to locomotion



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

: the vehicle that produces the power that pulls a train


lo·​co·​mo·​tive | \ ˌlō-kə-ˈmō-tiv \

Kids Definition of locomotive

: a vehicle that moves under its own power and is used to haul cars on a railroad


lo·​co·​mo·​tive | \ ˌlō-kə-ˈmōt-iv \

Medical Definition of locomotive

: locomotor sense 1 locomotive organs include flagella, cilia, pseudopodia, and limbs

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More from Merriam-Webster on locomotive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with locomotive

Spanish Central: Translation of locomotive

Nglish: Translation of locomotive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of locomotive for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about locomotive

Comments on locomotive

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


excited commotion or publicity

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