Definition of locomotive in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌlōkəˈmōdiv/


A powered rail vehicle used for pulling trains: a diesel locomotive
More example sentences
  • They are railway locomotives, fireplaces, church towers, cannons and benches.
  • The use of light locomotives on the estate railways became more widespread after the First World War.
  • His main interest is the steam locomotives and railways of many countries.


1Relating to or effecting locomotion: locomotive power
More example sentences
  • Thus substantial space is devoted, for example, to railroads in the Civil War and to the development of locomotive power in the era from 1865 to 1900.
  • You must avoid the attack by using the speed of locomotive power.
  • ‘As people get older their locomotive abilities give up before vision and if they become confined to one room vision and hearing become relatively more important,’ he said.
1.1 archaic (Of a machine, vehicle, or animal) having the power of progressive motion: locomotive bivalves have the strongest hinges


Early 17th century (as an adjective): from modern Latin locomotivus, from Latin loco (ablative of locus 'place') + late Latin motivus 'motive', suggested by medieval Latin in loco moveri 'move by change of position'.

  • local from Late Middle English:

    Local is from Latin locus ‘place’. At first used to mean ‘concerned with place or position’, it was applied more specifically to a small area with respect to its inhabitants from the late 17th century. Locals described the inhabitants themselves from the mid 19th century. The same root is found in allocation (Late Middle English) from allocare ‘allot’, dislocate (late 16th century) ‘displace’, locate (early 16th century), locomotive (early 17th century), something that could move its place, and locale (late 18th century). This is from French local, the same as the English word, but with an ‘e’ added to show the change in pronunciation ( compare moral and morale).

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Syllabification: lo·co·mo·tive

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