tur·bine | \ ˈtər-bən , -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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Did You Know?

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

The two projects would have more than 500 turbines. Rye Druzin, Houston Chronicle, "Virginia company to build $1.2 billion Panhandle wind farm," 13 July 2018 Unless Trump backs down, on July 6 the United States will impose tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports, many of them parts used in products such as marine engines and power turbines. Bloomberg News, BostonGlobe.com, "BMW, Ford, and Tesla brace for ‘nightmare’ tariff whiplash," 2 July 2018 In Britain, turbines produced almost no electricity for more than a week at the start of this month. Lars Paulsson, Bloomberg.com, "Europe’s Electricity Supply Could Drop Just in Time for the Next Blast of Heat," 22 June 2018 Each of the wind farm’s turbines climb 262 feet in height, with blades attached to rotors that stretch to a diameter of 351 feet. Rob Nikolewski, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Tule Wind Project back up after being offline for more than 5 weeks," 1 June 2018 That presence fostered the corporation’s opening of a $7 million turbine-technician training center near Orlando’s airport in 2013. Kevin Spear, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Orlando wind-energy operations grow with Siemens Gamesa merger," 31 May 2018 Using a statue, rope and a whole bunch of duct tape, Will rappels off the building and times his jump onto the turbine just right so he’s not chopped to bits. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "'Skyscraper': 5 totally preposterous moments where Dwayne Johnson has to save the day," 11 July 2018 The plant harnesses heat and steam from the Earth's core to spin turbines to generate power. Fox News, "Lava covers plugged well at Hawaii geothermal plant property," 28 May 2018 The plant harnesses heat and steam from the Earth's core to spin turbines to generate power. CBS News, "Lava from Kilauea oozes over well at geothermal plant," 28 May 2018

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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Statistics for turbine

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for turbine

The first known use of turbine was in 1842

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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 \

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

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