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[fyoo-uh l] /ˈfyu əl/
combustible matter used to maintain fire, as coal, wood, oil, or gas, in order to create heat or power.
something that gives nourishment; food.
an energy source for engines, power plants, or reactors:
Kerosene is used as jet engine fuel.
something that sustains or encourages; stimulant:
Our discussion provided him with fuel for debate.
verb (used with object), fueled, fueling or (especially British) fuelled, fuelling.
to supply with fuel.
verb (used without object), fueled, fueling or (especially British) fuelled, fuelling.
to obtain or replenish fuel.
Origin of fuel
1300-50; Middle English fuel(le), feuel < Old French feuaile < Vulgar Latin *focālia, neuter plural of *focālis of the hearth, fuel. See focus, -al1
Related forms
fueler; (especially British) fueller, noun
defuel, verb (used with object), defueled, defueling or (especially British) defuelled, defuelling.
nonfuel, adjective
unfueled; (especially British) unfuelled, adjective
well-fueled; (especially British) well-fuelled, adjective
4. ammunition, sustenance, impetus, stimulus. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fuel
  • Avoid providing fire with extra fuel and pathways to your house via wooden trellises, fences, or sheds.
  • Nuclear energy is considered by many people to be the only realistic alternative to fossil fuel to power our civilization.
  • Most cost calculations neglect the effect of diversifying our energy supply on fossil fuel prices.
  • To fuel their added brain power, these hominids probably introduced new energy-rich foods to their diet.
  • We went through and readjusted all of our steam traps and chilled water usage, fuel usage, everything that goes into energy.
  • With gasoline prices high again, universities are looking for ways to reduce their long-term reliance on the fuel.
  • Over the past few years engineers have been designing fuel cells that will be useful outside space agencies.
  • With rising fuel costs, automotive efficiency has become a primary concern for many new vehicle buyers.
  • The reactor can be shut down by moving control rods into place around the fuel.
  • Everybody's talking about micro fuel cells and their potential, but there are no actual products.
British Dictionary definitions for fuel


any substance burned as a source of heat or power, such as coal or petrol
  1. the material, containing a fissile substance, such as uranium-235, that produces energy in a nuclear reactor
  2. a substance that releases energy in a fusion reactor
something that nourishes or builds up emotion, action, etc
verb fuels, fuelling, fuelled (US) fuels, fueling, fueled
to supply with or receive fuel
Derived Forms
fueller, (US) fueler, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French feuaile, from feu fire, ultimately from Latin focus fireplace, hearth
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 fuel

early 14c., from Old French foaile "bundle of firewood," from Vulgar Latin legal term *focalia "right to demand material for making fire," neuter plural of Latin focalis "pertaining to a hearth," from focus "hearth" (see focus). Figurative use from 1570s.


1590s, from fuel (n.). Related: Fueled; fueling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fuel in Science
A substance that produces useful energy when it undergoes a chemical or nuclear reaction. Fuel such as coal, wood, oil, or gas provides energy when burned. Compounds in the body such as glucose are broken down into simpler compounds to provide energy for metabolic processes. Some radioactive substances, such as plutonium and tritium, provide energy by undergoing nuclear fission or fusion.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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fuel in the Bible

Almost every kind of combustible matter was used for fuel, such as the withered stalks of herbs (Matt. 6:30), thorns (Ps. 58:9; Eccl. 7:6), animal excrements (Ezek. 4:12-15; 15:4, 6; 21:32). Wood or charcoal is much used still in all the towns of Syria and Egypt. It is largely brought from the region of Hebron to Jerusalem. (See COAL.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with fuel
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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