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[en-juh n] /ˈɛn dʒən/
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.
Origin of engine
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for engines
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The ship swerved tipsily and then the engines ceased their throbbing.

    The Web of the Golden Spider Frederick Orin Bartlett
  • But her engines were reversed the instant the accident occurred.

    A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair
  • It is first found, in spite of the fume of the engines, in Howrah Station.

    From Sea to Sea Rudyard Kipling
  • Now the engines were stopped altogether, and we drifted with the current.

    Life On The Mississippi, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • But the water is in the form of high-pressure steam, which is used in engines.

    Operation: Outer Space William Fitzgerald Jenkins
British Dictionary definitions for engines


any machine designed to convert energy, esp heat energy, into mechanical work: a steam engine, a petrol engine
  1. a railway locomotive
  2. (as modifier): the engine cab
(military) any of various pieces of equipment formerly used in warfare, such as a battering ram or gun
(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
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Word Origin and History for engines



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
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engines in Science
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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engines in the Bible

(1.) Heb. hishalon i.e., "invention" (as in Eccl. 7:29) contrivances indicating ingenuity. In 2 Chr. 26:15 it refers to inventions for the purpose of propelling missiles from the walls of a town, such as stones (the Roman balista) and arrows (the catapulta). (2.) Heb. mechi kobollo, i.e., the beating of that which is in front a battering-ram (Ezek. 26:9), the use of which was common among the Egyptians and the Assyrians. Such an engine is mentioned in the reign of David (2 Sam. 20:15).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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