a machine for converting thermal energy into mechanical energy or power to produce force and motion.
a railroad locomotive.
any mechanical contrivance.
a machine or instrument used in warfare, as a battering ram, catapult, or piece of artillery.
Obsolete. an instrument of torture, especially the rack.

1250–1300; Middle English engin < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin ingenium nature, innate quality, especially mental power, hence a clever invention, equivalent to in- in-2 + -genium, equivalent to gen- begetting (see kin) + -ium -ium

engineless, adjective
multiengine, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
engine (ˈɛndʒɪn)
1.  any machine designed to convert energy, esp heat energy, into mechanical work: a steam engine; a petrol engine
2.  a.  a railway locomotive
 b.  (as modifier): the engine cab
3.  military any of various pieces of equipment formerly used in warfare, such as a battering ram or gun
4.  obsolete any instrument or device: engines of torture
[C13: from Old French engin, from Latin ingenium nature, talent, ingenious contrivance, from in-² + -genium, related to gignere to beget, produce]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, from O.Fr. engin "skill, cleverness," also "war machine," from L. ingenium "inborn qualities, talent," from in- "in" + gen-, root of gignere "to beget, produce." At first meaning a trick or device, or any machine (especially military); sense of one that converts energy to mechanical power is
18c., especially of steam engines.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
engine  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (ěn'jĭn)  Pronunciation Key 
A machine that turns energy into mechanical force or motion, especially one that gets its energy from a source of heat, such as the burning of a fuel. The efficiency of an engine is the ratio between the kinetic energy produced by the machine and the energy needed to produce it. See more at internal-combustion engine, steam engine., See also motor.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Computing Dictionary

engine definition

1. A piece of hardware that encapsulates some function but can't be used without some kind of front end. Today we have, especially, "print engine": the guts of a laser printer.
2. An analogous piece of software; notionally, one that does a lot of noisy crunching, such as a "database engine", or "search engine".
The hackish senses of "engine" are actually close to its original, pre-Industrial-Revolution sense of a skill, clever device, or instrument (the word is cognate to "ingenuity"). This sense had not been completely eclipsed by the modern connotation of power-transducing machinery in Charles Babbage's time, which explains why he named the stored-program computer that he designed in 1844 the "Analytical Engine".
[Jargon File]
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
They cranked up the four-cylinder gasoline engine that had been especially
  designed and built for the flying machine.
The writer was trying to tell us that racing a cold engine would hasten the
  need for a tuneup.
The entrepreneurial spirit is still moving along, but its engine has been
Before the plane lands, word comes that the engine is running smoothly.
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