lo·​co·​mo·​tive | \ ˌlō-kə-ˈmō-tiv How to pronounce locomotive (audio) \

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

Adjective the locomotive ability of spiders
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The other option is to augment an existing design with additional boost—like adding more locomotive cars to a train to pull more freight. Bobak Ferdowsi, Popular Mechanics, "Why the SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket Just Might Work," 31 July 2017 Dallas Train Show Engineer a fun family outing exploring locomotive folk art at this 35th annual exhibition of model trains. Dallas News, "12 fun things to do the week of Jan. 17-23 in Dallas-Fort Worth," 16 Jan. 2020 And there is also that familiar Baltimore sound, a long, mournful locomotive whistle, a sound that travels for miles. Jacques Kelly, baltimoresun.com, "Shrouded in darkness, Baltimore’s Howard Street Tunnel is a workhorse rail artery," 27 July 2019 Eventually and quite amusingly the women are revealed to have locomotive assistance from two nude men, who mostly serve as their legs, which appear from beneath their long skirts. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "A Company’s Classics Take the Stage," 17 June 2019 Passengers watched — and shot video with their phones — as flames erupted from the locomotive stack of an MBTA commuter rail train in Canton Thursday night. Emily Sweeney, BostonGlobe.com, "Commuter rail passengers watch as flames erupt from locomotive; Keolis apologizes," 26 July 2019 More than a thousand workers went on strike Tuesday at a former General Electric Co. locomotive plant in Erie, Pa., a day after the operation was acquired by rival Wabtec Corp. Thomas Gryta, WSJ, "GE Transportation Workers Go on Strike Under New Owner," 26 Feb. 2019 General Electric's railroad locomotive plant in Fort Worth is on a roll. Gordon Dickson, star-telegram, "GE gets yet another big order for railroad locomotives at its Fort Worth plant," 21 June 2018 An 80-year-old former locomotive parts warehouse in the Netherlands is being converted into a high-tech library. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Today’s Logistics Report: Shrinking Japan’s Fleet; Squeezing the Grocers; Highway Dividing Lines," 8 Mar. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Texas Central points out passengers will not need to wear seatbelts or turn off phones aboard the locomotive. Sarah Sarder, Houston Chronicle, "First look: Houston to North Texas high-speed train reveals 'first-class' interior plans," 18 Feb. 2020 In 1825, the first locomotive to haul a passenger train was operated by George Stephenson in England. BostonGlobe.com, "In 1772, Patriot firebrand and brewer Samuel Adams was born in Boston.," 27 Sep. 2019 While the person was uninjured, the locomotive ripped the photographer's coat. Micah Walker, Detroit Free Press, "'Polar Express' train nearly runs over photographer in Shiawassee County," 13 Dec. 2019 Now the Panamanian flag is everywhere, on all the buildings and even the little locomotives that pull the ships through the canal. Carl Nolte, SFChronicle.com, "Finding San Francisco history in the most unlikely of places: Nicaragua," 7 Dec. 2019 But to string the train cars together correctly, players must arrange the blocks in a sequence that couples the locomotive with the wagon. Michelle Z. Donahue, Smithsonian, "The Ten Best STEM Toys to Give as Gifts in 2019," 26 Nov. 2019 More trains help reduce congestion and provide a climate-friendly transit option.’’ To improve on-time performance, the MBTA is spending $106 million to completely overhaul the 37 oldest locomotives in the fleet. BostonGlobe.com, "For many, the commuter rail is no easy ride - The Boston Globe," 15 Nov. 2019 The locomotives that power the company’s 239-seat trains still bear the black and yellow Brightline colors. David Lyons, sun-sentinel.com, "Brightline will be called Virgin Trains USA. So when will you see the new name on trains?," 12 Nov. 2019 This led the city to sell the locomotive back to the museum for $8 in Tuesday night’s vote. Forum News Service, Twin Cities, "Rather than return to Eau Claire, steam engine will remain at Duluth museum," 24 Oct. 2019

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of locomotive was in 1612

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Statistics for locomotive

Last Updated

7 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Locomotive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/locomotive. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for locomotive


How to pronounce locomotive (audio)

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 How to pronounce locomotive (audio) \

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 How to pronounce locomotive (audio) \

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

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