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en·​gine ˈen-jən How to pronounce engine (audio)
: a machine for converting any of various forms of energy into mechanical force and motion
also : a mechanism or object that serves as an energy source
black holes may be the engines for quasars
: a railroad locomotive
: something used to effect a purpose : agent, instrument
mournful and terrible engine of horror and of crime E. A. Poe
: something that produces a particular and usually desirable result
engines of economic growth
: any of various mechanical appliances
often used in combination
fire engine
: a mechanical tool: such as
: an instrument or machine of war
obsolete : a torture implement
: computer software that performs a fundamental function especially of a larger program
: evil contrivance : wile
engineless adjective


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engined; engining

transitive verb

: to equip with engines

Example Sentences

Noun The car has a four-cylinder engine. tanks, planes, and other engines of war The tax cut could be an engine of economic growth.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adding tons of new armor plate to a tank will stress the tank’s engine, transmission, and suspension systems. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 9 Nov. 2022 This scrappy little paddle engine that could is now forecast to become a quarter-billion-dollar industry by 2028, one baffling celebrity endorsement at a time. Caira Conner, The Atlantic, 4 Nov. 2022 The Malibu’s engine was still running and the transmission was in drive. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, 3 Nov. 2022 Options include type of engine, wheels, tires, cloth or leather interior, display screen size and massaging seats. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, 3 Nov. 2022 Winston-Salem, North Carolina, police officer A.J. Sereika pulled into a Walmart parking lot on March 31, 2022 to find Solo asleep behind the wheel of a GMC Yukon, with the engine still running. Analis Bailey, USA TODAY, 2 Nov. 2022 The front and rear sections of the car were mangled and even the engine – which had run fewer than 100 laps – went back to the builder for a checkup. Dave Kallmann, Journal Sentinel, 10 Oct. 2022 Last month, a New Shepard booster engine flared during ascent, causing a rocket to crash in the Texas desert. Steve Mollman, Fortune, 9 Oct. 2022 The second engine of the set, Engine E2059, previously flew on five shuttle missions. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 7 Oct. 2022
Is there any benefit to directing the executive who oversees engine procurement to procure electricity as well? Marc Levinson, WSJ, 28 July 2022 Vehicle telematics works by simply installing a device with a SIM card that allows remotely acquiring vehicle information like location, speed, tire pressure, and engine idle in real-time, faster and more accurately than ever before. Ekim Saribardak, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 Every decision during a race, from timing a pit stop and choosing the tires to engine settings and brake balance, is grounded in granular data. Luc Hennekens, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 From crying babies to engine turbines, the earbuds provided smooth listening and drowned out all distractions. Nina Huang, EW.com, 23 Aug. 2021 Boeing and Airbus have often timed all-new aircraft to engine technology that provides a step-change in efficiency, such as the GEnx turbofans that made Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner twin-aisle greener and quieter than its predecessors. BostonGlobe.com, 14 June 2021 Changes to the truck, from chassis to body to engine to interior, reflect consumer needs, requests and complaints. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 2 Jan. 2021 Changes to the truck, from chassis to body to engine to interior, reflect consumer needs, requests and complaints. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 2 Jan. 2021 Changes to the truck, from chassis to body to engine to interior, reflect consumer needs, requests and complaints. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 2 Jan. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'engine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English engin, from Anglo-French, from Latin ingenium natural disposition, talent, from in- + gignere to beget — more at kin

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6a


1841, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of engine was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near engine

Cite this Entry

“Engine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/engine. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



: a mechanical device
: a machine that changes energy (as heat from burning fuel) into mechanical motion
: a railroad locomotive

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