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 Schon's opening burst of arpeggiated guitar propelled the track forward like an accelerating locomotive, inspiring the opening verse about the midnight train to anywh-er-ere. Jordan Runtagh, PEOPLE.com, 23 July 2021 Garland attempted to make a case for this, claiming the dog's presence in the cabin of a moving locomotive could take up too much of a small space or be a distraction to other employees. Tess Vrbin, Arkansas Online, 17 July 2021 The three crew members climbed on top of the locomotive, where they were forced to remain as the floodwaters rose. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 July 2021 Directed by Barry Jenkins and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead, the series — about a runaway slave who seeks freedom via locomotive that travels north through subterranean tunnels — earned seven nominations overall. Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times, 13 July 2021 Siemens Mobility won a contract worth $3.4 billion to build up to 73 trainsets, including locomotive engines and passenger cars, at its rail factory in Sacramento, says Michael Cahill, the unit’s president. Alan Ohnsman, Forbes, 7 July 2021 The 3,200-horsepower locomotive, made by Progress Rail, a unit of Caterpillar, can haul cars around the port for 24 hours on one charge. Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times, 5 July 2021 Next, a subterranean locomotive on railroad tracks. Armond White, National Review, 12 May 2021 Wood maintains there were other options to keep the locomotive local. Dan Scanlan, orlandosentinel.com, 19 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Griffin, outlining Deckard's testimony, said the witness would testify that plenty of room existed in the cab of a locomotive to accommodate the dog. Dale Ellis, Arkansas Online, 15 July 2021 Every battery locomotive that replaces a diesel will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3,000 tons per year, Wabtec estimates. Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times, 5 July 2021 Through the mid-2000s, the U.S. was the main locomotive for global growth, until China’s explosive expansion provided a second, and often leading, driver of the world’s economy. Tom Fairless, WSJ, 28 June 2021 Composer Nicholas Britell’s haunting and, at turns, whimsical score brilliantly incorporates the urgent and foreboding horn of a locomotive. Washington Post, 12 May 2021 Bowman claimed that any part of the cement roof could hold up a locomotive. Celia Storey, Arkansas Online, 24 May 2021 Much like Gulliver’s Travels, the story takes its fugitive protagonist, Cora, on a fantastical tour through different states via a literal locomotive. Jamil Smith, Rolling Stone, 4 May 2021 Whitehead’s descriptions of the labor required to construct this chimeric locomotive are rhythmic, almost imitating the syncopated carving of the land. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, 14 May 2021 When the Advance Flyer was forced to stop in Naperville because of a mechanical issue, caution signals were the only things alerting the second locomotive’s engineer that there was a problem ahead. Rafael Guerrero, chicagotribune.com, 24 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of locomotive


1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1829, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About locomotive

Time Traveler for locomotive

Time Traveler

The first known use of locomotive was in 1612

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near locomotive



locomotive engineer

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for locomotive

Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Locomotive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/locomotive. Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!