• IPA: /ˈɛnd͡ʒɪn/
  • (AU) IPA: /ˈend͡ʒɪn/, /end͡ʒən/
  • (New Zealand) IPA: /ˈend͡ʒɘn/

engine (plural engines)

  1. A large construction used in warfare, such as a battering ram, catapult etc. [from 14th c.]
  2. (now, archaic) A tool; a utensil or implement. [from 14th c.]
    • 1733, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Man. […], epistle I, London: Printed for J[ohn] Wilford, […], OCLC 960856019 ↗, lines 248–251, page 15 ↗:
      What if the Foot, ordain'd the duſt to tread, / Or Hand, to toil, aſpir'd to be the Head? / What if the Head, the Eye, or Ear repin'd / To ſerve mere Engines to the ruling Mind?
  3. A complex mechanical device which converts energy into useful motion or physical effects. [from 16th c.]
  4. A person or group of people which influence a larger group; a driving force. [from 16th c.]
  5. The part of a car or other vehicle which provides the force for motion, now especially one powered by internal combustion. [from 19th c.]
  6. A self-powered vehicle, especially a locomotive, used for pulling cars along a track. [from 19th c.]
  7. (computing) A software or hardware system responsible for a specific technical task (usually with qualifying word). [from 20th c.]
    a graphics engine; a physics engine
  8. (obsolete) Ingenuity; cunning, trickery, guile. [13th-17th c.]
  9. (obsolete) The result of cunning; something ingenious, a contrivance; (in negative senses) a plot, a scheme. [13th-18th c.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. […], London: Printed [by John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938 ↗, book II, canto i, page 193 ↗:
      Therefore this craftie engine he did frame, / Againſt his praiſe to ſtirre vp enmitye [...].
  10. (obsolete) Natural talent; genius. [14th-17th c.]
  11. Anything used to effect a purpose; any device or contrivance; an agent.
    • c. 1604–1605, William Shakespeare, “All’s VVell, that Ends VVell”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene v], page 243 ↗, column 1:
      [...] their promiſes, entiſements, oathes, tokens, and all theſe engines of luſt [...].
    • 1678, John Bunyan, “The Author’s Apology for His Book ↗”, in The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That which is to Come: […], London: Printed for Nath[aniel] Ponder […], OCLC 228725984 ↗; reprinted in The Pilgrim’s Progress (The Noel Douglas Replicas), London: Noel Douglas, […], 1928, OCLC 5190338 ↗:
      You ſee the ways the Fiſher-man doth take / To catch the Fiſh; what Engins doth he make?
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • Portuguese: motor
  • Russian: дви́гатель
  • Spanish: motor

engine (engines, present participle engining; past and past participle engined)

  1. (transitive, dated) To equip with an engine; said especially of steam vessels.
    Vessels are often built by one firm and engined by another.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To assault with an engine.
    • T. Adams.
      to engine and batter our walls
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To contrive; to put into action.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To rack; to torture.
    • Quoted in 1977, Virginia Brown (ed.), Mediaeval Studies (volume XXXIX), Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, Canada
      In the year 1433 a merchant complained to Commons that the lord of the port city of Gildo in Brittany had imprisoned a servant of his ‘and engined him so that he was in point of death’ (Rot. pari. 4.475).

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