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 Born inside the locomotive shop in 2008, the orange-and-white cat was adopted by the workers and spends his days exploring the complex and welcoming visitors. Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2022 One locomotive environment is relatively bright and crisp, the other dissolves into a hazy blur. Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2022 The dream of a single, continuous railroad that would unite America’s east and west coasts dates back to the 1830s, not long after the introduction of the country’s first steam locomotive. Matt Stirn, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Mar. 2022 Built in Lima, Ohio, in 1944, the steam locomotive is 15 feet tall, weighs 404 tons and can reach speeds of more than 70 mph, according to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Megan Becka, cleveland, 6 Apr. 2022 Thomas asked several questions during the first of two cases the court is hearing Monday, involving locomotive safety. Greg Stohr, Bloomberg.com, 28 Mar. 2022 Rather than Disney-centric, it's being touted as reminiscent of rail travel in the 1920s, complete with buses wrapped as locomotive or passenger cars and drivers and staff dressed as conductors and engineers. Britt Kennerly, USA TODAY, 23 Jan. 2022 Zorya Luhansk, another border club with a rich history dating to its birth in a locomotive factory shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution, has also relocated, moving 250 miles from Ukraine’s eastern border to Zaporizhzhia. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2022 The railroad will develop charging stations in partnership with the American Association of Railways, which is developing standards with representatives of railroads and locomotive makers. Khari Johnson, Wired, 4 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Parallel Systems isn’t just taking an existing freight train and swapping its diesel-electric locomotive for a battery version. Tim De Chant, Ars Technica, 19 Jan. 2022 The snapshot of China’s economy, the main locomotive of global growth in the last few years, adds to expectations that the broader world economic outlook is beginning to dim. New York Times, 16 Jan. 2022 Replacing such a locomotive’s powertrain with Tier 4 technology, costing about $2 million, would reduce its emissions by 89%, according to DAQ. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 24 Feb. 2022 That used a 400-kilowatt plug, but later models of Wabtec’s FLXdrive will charge using pantograph technology, reaching down with an arm to touch a contact at the top of the locomotive. Khari Johnson, Wired, 4 Feb. 2022 Its beam could warn a ship at sea, intimidate an actor, shine brighter than the headlight of a locomotive. John Mcphee, The New Yorker, 31 Jan. 2022 Along the way, rail fans from all over await the locomotive's arrival. Neal Earley, Arkansas Online, 22 Aug. 2021 Families would once again gather at the train station, waiting for the locomotive to return. oregonlive, 20 Feb. 2022 The train applied its emergency brakes, which caused some rail cars on the train to detach from the locomotive. Adam Sabes, Fox News, 20 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near locomotive



locomotive engineer

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Statistics for locomotive

Last Updated

4 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Locomotive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/locomotive. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for locomotive


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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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