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


the locomotive ability of spiders

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Goals are the engine of the locomotive of looking hot. Sam Saulsbury, The New Yorker, "New Slogans for Athleisure Brands," 30 July 2019 In the future, Caltrain would trade its diesel-belching locomotives for electric cars, with 10-car trains arriving at stations every 7½ minutes. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "Caltrain maps out big growth and how to pay the $25 billion tab," 22 July 2019 In recessions, deficit spending and low interest rates rekindle the fire in the American locomotive. al.com, "No one in Washington cares about the debt. Did they ever?," 9 July 2019 On top of its crew shortage, it was saddled with a pressing deadline to equip all its locomotives with the technology for an automatic braking system known as Positive Train Control. Patrick Mcgeehan, New York Times, "N.J. Transit Canceled More Than 60 Trains (and That Was Just in the Last Week)," 8 July 2019 Diesel locomotives can run in any weather and pose a lower fire risk. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Durango residents divided as beloved coal-fired train faces lawsuits over its role in the 416 fire," 7 July 2019 The museum is planning a multi-million dollar renovation that will uniquely highlight its beloved steam locomotive. Ray Boyd, https://www.inquirer.com, "Summer Arts Guide; Philly World War II veteran finally gets justice | Morning Newsletter," 5 June 2019 People cheered as the 50-wagon locomotive, decorated with flower garlands, made its way into the railway yard where 2.5 million liters of water will start being decanted. Swati Gupta, CNN, "Indian water train arrives with desperately needed relief for Chennai," 12 July 2019 Daniel liked to explore them, poking around old furnaces that once melted scrap metal for steel-making plants, climbing on defunct locomotive trains, or driving Bobcat loaders. Lina Zeldovich, Popular Mechanics, "The Vertical Farm That Lifted a Family," 2 June 2016

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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Statistics for locomotive

Last Updated

22 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

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).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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