Definition of engine in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɛndʒɪn/


1A machine with moving parts that converts power into motion: the roar of a car engine [as modifier]: engine failure
More example sentences
  • At the time, the big advantage of petrol engines over steamed powered cars was that they required only one kind of fuel, instead of a combination of coal and water.
  • The device will disable the ignition of a car or stop its engine while in motion.
  • Diesel-powered submarines use combustion engines to provide power and charge the sub's batteries.
motor, mechanism, machine, power source, drive
1.1A thing that is the agent or instrument of a particular process: exports used to be the engine of growth
More example sentences
  • Private initiative will provide the engine for growth and will be the major force in developing the economy.
  • The report said urbanisation and the second stage of industrialisation are the two new growth engines.
  • Cities are engines of growth and cultural expansion and finding answers to the question of how cities can remain viable in the future is one of the most urgent challenges world-wide.
cause, agent, instrument, driver, originator, initiator, generator
2 (also railway engine) A locomotive.
Example sentences
  • And a final word… In about three years it will be time to mark the bi-centenary of the first successful use of a steam railway engine anywhere in the world.
  • The all-time roster of steam locomotives totalled just 60 engines, less than half of which were acquired new.
  • Three engines and 11 boxcars derailed near the 3800 block of Croton Avenue.
2.1A fire engine.
Example sentences
  • The fire brigade was out in force with an emergency tender, a high-rise platform engine and two regular fire engines.
  • The introduction of the new engine was instrumental in keeping the Sligo fire service moving forward.
  • The crew from the Engine arrived and stayed for about three and a half hours while crews worked to extinguish the fire and overhaul the building contents
2.2 historical A mechanical device or instrument, especially one used in warfare: a siege engine
More example sentences
  • After all, medieval warfare depended on siege engines which were nothing more than big levers to breach castle walls!
  • Light siege engines and field artillery bulked behind the infantry, crews crouched at their weapons.
  • Their work was covered by over a hundred siege engines that hurled not only stones but also pots filled with various flammable substances.
device, contraption, gadget, apparatus, machine, appliance, mechanism, implement, instrument, tool, utensil, aid, invention, contrivance;
machinery, means



[in combination]: a twin-engined helicopter


Example sentences
  • I will soon be able to buy an engineless accommodation barge to tow behind in traditional waterways fashion.
  • At its peak altitude, the engineless plane will separate from its booster before gliding to earth under radio control to a parachute landing.
  • Imagine an engineless boat with no sails on a full moon night in a rough sea.


Middle English (formerly also as ingine): from Old French engin, from Latin ingenium 'talent, device', from in- 'in' + gignere 'beget'; compare with ingenious. The original sense was 'ingenuity, cunning' (surviving in Scots as ingine), hence 'the product of ingenuity, a plot or snare', also 'tool, weapon', later specifically denoting a large mechanical weapon; whence a machine (mid 17th century), used commonly later in combinations such as steam engine, internal combustion engine.

  • Engine is from Old French engin, from Latin ingenium ‘talent, device’, the source also of ingenious (Late Middle English). Like many English words that now start with en-, it could also be spelled in-. Its original senses were ‘ingenuity, cunning’, and ‘natural talent, wit, genius’, which survives in Scots as ingine. From there it became ‘the product of ingenuity, a plot, or snare’, and also ‘a tool or weapon’, specifically a large mechanical weapon, such as a battering ram or heavy catapult, constructed by engineers (Middle English). By the first half of the 17th century something like our idea of an engine had arisen, a fairly complex device with moving parts that worked together.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: en¦gine

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