[ en-juhn ]
See synonyms for: engineengines on Thesaurus.com

  1. a machine for converting thermal energy into mechanical energy or power to produce force and motion.

  2. a railroad locomotive.

  1. Computers. a piece or collection of software that drives a later process (used in combination, as in game engine; software engine).: See also search engine.

  2. any mechanical contrivance.

  3. a machine or instrument used in warfare, as a battering ram, catapult, or piece of artillery.

  4. a means by which something is achieved, accomplished, or furthered: Trade is an engine of growth that creates jobs, reduces poverty, and increases economic opportunity.

  5. Obsolete. an instrument of torture, especially the rack.

Origin of engine

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English engin, from Anglo-French, Old French engign, enging, from Latin ingenium “nature, innate quality, mental power, clever invention,” equivalent to in- “in” + -genium (equivalent to gen- “begetting” + -ium noun suffix); see in-2, kin, -ium

Other words from engine

  • en·gine·less, adjective
  • mul·ti·en·gine, noun

Words Nearby engine

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use engine in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for engine


/ (ˈɛndʒɪn) /

  1. any machine designed to convert energy, esp heat energy, into mechanical work: a steam engine; a petrol engine

    • a railway locomotive

    • (as modifier): the engine cab

  1. military any of various pieces of equipment formerly used in warfare, such as a battering ram or gun

  2. obsolete any instrument or device: engines of torture

Origin of engine

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

Scientific definitions for engine


[ ĕnjĭn ]

  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.