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From Middle English engyneour, engineour, from Old French engigneor, engignier, from engin or from Medieval Latin ingeniator (one who creates or one who uses an engine), from ingenium (nature, native talent, skill), from in (in) + gignere (to beget, produce), Old Latin genere; see ingenious hence "one who produces or generates [new] things". Sometimes erroneously linked with engine +‎ -eer (Can this(+) etymology be sourced?).



engineer (plural engineers)

  1. A person who is qualified or professionally engaged in any branch of engineering.
  2. (Philippines) A title given to an engineer.
  3. (chiefly US) A person who controls motion of substance (such as a locomotive).
  4. (nautical) A person employed in the engine room of a ship.

Usage notesEdit

  • Adjectives often applied to "engineer": agricultural, mechanical, electrical, civil, architectural, environmental, industrial, optical, nuclear, structural, chemical, military, electronic, professional, chartered, licensed, certified, qualified.


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


engineer (third-person singular simple present engineers, present participle engineering, simple past and past participle engineered)

  1. (transitive) To design, construct or manage something as an engineer.
  2. (transitive) To alter or construct something by means of genetic engineering.
    • 2018, Timothy R. Jennings, The Aging Brain, →ISBN, page 41:
      In an interesting animal study, scientists engineered mice with a specific gene defect that caused memory and learning problems.
  3. (transitive) To plan or achieve some goal by contrivance or guile; to wangle or finagle.
  4. (transitive) To control motion of substance; to change motion.
  5. (intransitive, obsolete) To work as an engineer.

Derived termsEdit


Further readingEdit