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[en-juh-neer] /ˌɛn dʒəˈnɪər/
a person trained and skilled in the design, construction, and use of engines or machines, or in any of various branches of engineering:
a mechanical engineer; a civil engineer.
a person who operates or is in charge of an engine.
Also called locomotive engineer. Railroads. a person who operates or is in charge of a locomotive.
a member of an army, navy, or air force specially trained in engineering work.
Digital Technology. a person skilled in the design and programming of computer systems: a software engineer;
a web engineer.
a skillful manager:
a political engineer.
verb (used with object)
to plan, construct, or manage as an engineer:
He's engineered several big industrial projects.
to design or create using the techniques or methods of engineering:
The motor has been engineered to run noiselessly.
to arrange, manage, or carry through by skillful or artful contrivance:
He certainly engineered the election campaign beautifully.
Origin of engineer
1350-1400; engine + -eer; replacing Middle English engin(e)our < Anglo-French engineor Old French engigneor < Medieval Latin ingeniātor, equivalent to ingeniā(re) to design, devise (verbal derivative of ingenium; see engine) + Latin -tor -tor
Related forms
subengineer, noun
unengineered, adjective
well-engineered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for engineer
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When the engineer at last caught sight of him it was with a feeling of anger at what he regarded as the foolhardiness of the boy.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • As we were nearly up with the opening, I rang for the engineer to stop and back her.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • No more was then said, the engineer and fireman giving their attention to what was going on at the express car.

    Deadwood Dick Jr. Branded Ed. L. Wheeler
  • "Let her out, Moses," I called to the engineer through the speaking-tube.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • He was strong, active, and energetic, and as he grew up he was trained to be an engineer.

    Once Upon A Time In Connecticut Caroline Clifford Newton
British Dictionary definitions for engineer


a person trained in any branch of the profession of engineering
the originator or manager of a situation, system, etc
a mechanic; person who repairs or services machines
(US & Canadian) the driver of a railway locomotive
an officer responsible for a ship's engines
Informal name sapper. a member of the armed forces, esp the army, trained in engineering and construction work
verb (transitive)
to originate, cause, or plan in a clever or devious manner: he engineered the minister's downfall
to design, plan, or construct as a professional engineer
Word Origin
C14: enginer, from Old French engigneor, from engignier to contrive, ultimately from Latin ingenium skill, talent; see engine
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
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Word Origin and History for engineer

early 14c., "constructor of military engines," from Old French engigneor, from Late Latin ingeniare (see engine); general sense of "inventor, designer" is recorded from early 15c.; civil sense, in reference to public works, is recorded from c.1600. Meaning "locomotive driver" is first attested 1832, American English. A "maker of engines" in ancient Greece was a mekhanopoios.


1843 (but cf. engineering), from engineer (n.). Figurative sense of "arrange, contrive" is attested from 1864, originally in a political context. Related: Engineered.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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