From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishengineen‧gine /ˈendʒɪn/ ●●● S2 W2 noun [countable] 1 TEthe part of a vehicle that produces power to make it movemotorstart/switch on an engine The engine won’t start.stop/turn off/switch off an engine He switched off the car’s engine and waited. Is the engine running smoothly?diesel/petrol etc engine an old steam engine We were stranded with engine trouble on a deserted highway.2 TTTa vehicle that pulls a railway train3 [usually singular] formalCAUSE something powerful that causes great changes in societyengine of change/growth etc The Marshall Plan was the engine of post-war economic growth. Rome’s deadly war engine fire engineCOLLOCATIONSverbsswitch on/turn on/start an engineI fastened my seat belt and turned on the engine.switch off/turn off/stop an engineMaggie pulled over and switched off the engine.rev (up) an engine British English, gun an engine American English (=make an engine go very fast)As the lights turned green, Chris gunned the engine and we surged forward.an engine runsHe parked outside the bank and kept the engine running.an engine idles/ticks over (=runs slowly while the vehicle, machine etc is not moving)The taxi waited at the kerb, its engine idling noisily.an engine cuts out (=stops suddenly)The engine keeps cutting out.adjectivesbig/powerfulThe newer model has a more powerful engine.smallThe engine is small, so it's quite economical to run.a petrol/diesel engineThe van has a 2.5 litre diesel engine.a jet enginethe plane's powerful jet enginesa car/motorbike etc engineI heard the sound of a car engine in the distance.engine + NOUNengine trouble (=problems with an engine)When the boat developed engine trouble, the crew had to abandon ship.engine failure (=when an engine stops working suddenly)Their aircraft suffered engine failure and crashed into the sea.engine capacity (=an engine's size or power)The engine capacity of motorcycles ranges from 50cc to 1800cc.
Examples from the Corpus
engineThe construction equipment giant has been a customer since the early Seventies, and has taken delivery of 150,000 engines to date.Some of their multi-cylinder motor cycle engines have pistons little bigger than thimbles.The SVT is available only with a six-cylinder engine.a diesel engineI would love to test the same rig with a turbocharged diesel engine.For next year, the company will offer three cars with turbocharged diesel engines in the United States.The inference engine is generic, and it handles the logistics of a consultation.a jet engineSome residents fear the crops would attract birds that might be sucked into jet engines.A piston engine reacts immediately to power, just like a car.The car's engine tends to be noisy as it builds to highway speeds.I pressed the starter and the engine caught first time.Initially the engine refused to start for my grim, preoccupied father.He turned on the engine with a swift, disgusted motion.Every time I try to start the engine, there's a strange knocking sound.She left the car in the drive with the engine still running.engine runningHe said it was accidentally gassed when he left his car engine running.A big saloon car was parked outside the other door with its engine running.The man who got out of it left the headlights full on and the engine running.Keeping the engine running, I waited.Leaving the engine running, he went and leaned on the railings.Once I was outside, I left the engine running and ran back to close the gate.Quite often though, through various hit-and-miss applications, he would get one of the engines running.Rescuers have tried unsuccessfully to drive them out into the open sea using a line of boats with their engines running.engine of change/growth etcAn independent company, that is, with its two main engines of growth showing definite signs of maturity.This time, it sits on a siding as other, more suitable engines of growth and prosperity speed by.Towards the end, the engine of growth was overheating badly and the ride was increasingly bumpy.
Origin engine (1300-1400) Old French engin cleverness, machine, from Latin ingenium abilities you are born with