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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for engine
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A scuttle in the deck of a steamer to admit fuel for the engine.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • She had either stopped her engine, or gone off on some other course.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • It was now for Ralph a race to the engine and his friend Barton.

    Ralph on the Engine Allen Chapman
  • Washburn reported that the engine was in order, and that the cleaning process was finished.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • When an engine is all right they keep at it till it is all wrong.

    Farm Engines and How to Run Them James H. Stephenson
British Dictionary definitions for engine


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 engine

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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engine 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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