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

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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web As for how many turbines these farms would have, Jacobson said that depends on the region and the power generation capacity of each turbine. Ryan Fonsecastaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 12 Jan. 2023 According to Patrick Harnett, program director at Hornsea 2, a single rotation of the 81-meter long blades of each turbine takes just six seconds and generates enough energy to power a single home for a day. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 7 Sep. 2022 The German company Siemens Energy, the maker of the turbine, cast doubt on that account. Stanley Reed, New York Times, 2 Sep. 2022 German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has rejected that explanation, saying Russia refused to take delivery of the turbine. Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, 19 Aug. 2022 But Russia’s Gazprom reduced the supply of gas to Germany by 40% in June, citing delays in the return of the turbine. Andrew Raine, CNN, 11 July 2022 Andy Clements, who looks after the small wind farm on the tiny Scottish Isle of Gigha, steps out of the control hub at the base of the turbine and looks up with satisfaction. Cathleen O'grady, The Atlantic, 20 May 2022 The electricity generated is first sold to Co-op Energy, which then supplies owners with power, discounted at rates that depend in part on how much of the turbine the customer owns. Erika Page, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Apr. 2022 The turbine was built by Solar Turbines, an EPA partner with headquarters near the San Diego airport. Blake Nelsonstaff Reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1842, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of turbine was in 1842

Dictionary Entries Near turbine

Cite this Entry

“Turbine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turbine. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


tur·​bine ˈtər-bən How to pronounce turbine (audio)
: an engine whose central driving shaft is fitted with a series of blades spun around by the pressure of a fluid (as water, steam, or air)

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