follow Dictionary.com

Yours, Etc.: Origins and Uses of 8 Sign-Offs

engine

[en-juh n] /ˈɛn dʒən/
noun
1.
a machine for converting thermal energy into mechanical energy or power to produce force and motion.
2.
a railroad locomotive.
3.
4.
any mechanical contrivance.
5.
a machine or instrument used in warfare, as a battering ram, catapult, or piece of artillery.
6.
Obsolete. an instrument of torture, especially the rack.
Origin
1250-1300
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
Related forms
engineless, adjective
multiengine, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for engine
  • They cranked up the four-cylinder gasoline engine that had been especially designed and built for the flying machine.
  • The core of a steam engine is a cylinder that is sealed at one end and has a moving piston at the other.
  • Instead of being an engine of innovation, it is a vast marketing 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 overhauled.
  • Before the plane lands, word comes that the engine is running smoothly.
  • There's an engine worth hundreds of thousands of dollars locked in this train.
  • And that no car produces any power output without an engine in it.
  • The engine block is cast iron because it requires half as much energy as aluminum to warm up.
  • For example, alterations had to be made to the engine and the fuel-filler door was moved.
British Dictionary definitions for engine

engine

/ˈɛndʒɪn/
noun
1.
any machine designed to convert energy, esp heat energy, into mechanical work: a steam engine, a petrol engine
2.
  1. a railway locomotive
  2. (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
Word Origin
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 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for engine
n.

c.1300, "mechanical device," also "skill, craft," from Old French engin "skill, cleverness," also "trick, deceit, stratagem; war machine" (12c.), from Latin ingenium "inborn qualities, talent" (see ingenious). At first meaning a trick or device, or any machine (especially military); sense of "device that converts energy to mechanical power" is 18c., especially of steam engines.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
engine in Science
engine
  (ěn'jĭn)   
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.
Cite This Source
engine in Technology
jargon
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]
(1996-05-31)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for engine

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for engine

7
10
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with engine

Nearby words for engine