tur·​bine | \ ˈtər-bən How to pronounce turbine (audio) , -ˌbīn \

Definition of turbine

: a rotary engine actuated by the reaction or impulse or both of a current of fluid (such as water, steam, or air) subject to pressure and usually made with a series of curved vanes on a central rotating spindle

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The oldest and simplest form of turbine is the waterwheel, which is made to rotate by water falling across its blades and into buckets suspended from them. Hero of Alexandria invented the first steam-driven turbine in the 1st century A.D., but a commercially practical steam turbine wasn't developed until 1884; steam turbines are now the main elements of electric power stations. Jet engines are gas turbines. A turbojet engine uses a turbine to compress the incoming air that feeds the engine before being ejected to push the plane forward; a turboprop engine uses its exhaust to drive a turbine that spins a propeller. A wind turbine generates electricity by being turned by the wind; the largest now have vanes with a turning diameter of over 400 feet.

Examples of turbine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Boggs said the aircraft was recently modified from a Continental engine to a Rolls Royce turbine engine. al, 10 Oct. 2021 On Thursday, the Golden State was forced to shut down the six-turbine Edward Hyatt Power Plant – one of its largest hydroelectric plants – because there is not enough water to power it. Julia Musto, Fox News, 7 Aug. 2021 Allison Ziogas, head of US labor relations for the Danish energy company, said each of Ørsted’s wind farms will have their own project labor agreements, much like its five-turbine wind farm off Block Island that opened in 2016. BostonGlobe.com, 17 July 2021 The aircraft, an Airbus 330-300, broke down because its auxiliary power unit — a small turbine engine that powers the cabin and other onboard equipment — was damaged after being overrun with cicadas before take off. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, 9 June 2021 Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo was governor of Rhode Island when the five-turbine Block Island wind farm was completed in late 2016. Author: Joshua Partlow, Anchorage Daily News, 11 May 2021 The drone, which launched from Tyndall Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle, likely fell into the ocean after the turbine engine ran out of gas. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 23 Mar. 2021 During Tuesday’s hearing, several Ocean City residents, including beachfront property and business owners, spoke up in favor of the turbine expansions. Christine Condon, baltimoresun.com, 28 Sep. 2021 This 301 model was later upgraded with a turbine engine to become a 400A. Newer Air Tractor models have since replaced the aircraft. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Aug. 2021

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

1842, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for turbine

French, from Latin turbin-, turbo top, whirlwind, whirl, from turba confusion — more at turbid

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Time Traveler for turbine

Time Traveler

The first known use of turbine was in 1842

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Dictionary Entries Near turbine



turbine-electric locomotive

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Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Turbine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turbine. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for turbine



English Language Learners Definition of turbine

: an engine that has a part with blades that are caused to spin by pressure from water, steam, or air


tur·​bine | \ ˈtər-bən How to pronounce turbine (audio) \

Kids Definition of turbine

: an engine whose central driving shaft is fitted with a series of winglike parts that are spun by the pressure of water, steam, or gas

More from Merriam-Webster on turbine

Nglish: Translation of turbine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of turbine for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about turbine


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