engineer

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

The noun is derived from:[1]

The verb is derived from the noun.[3]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

engineer (plural engineers)

  1. (military, also figuratively)
    1. A soldier engaged in designing or constructing military works for attack or defence, or other engineering works.
      • c. 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke: [] (Second Quarto), London: [] N[icholas] L[ing] [], published 1604, OCLC 760858814, [Act III, scene iv]:
        For tis the ſport to haue the enginer / Hoiſt with his ovvne petar, an't ſhall goe hard / But I vvill delue one yeard belovve their mines, / And blovve them at the Moone: []
        For it's amusing to have the engineer / Hoisted into the sky with his own explosive, and if I'm lucky / I will dig one yard below their mines, / And blow them towards the Moon: []
      • 1625, Edmund Scot, “A Discourse of Iaua, and of the First English Factorie there, with Diuers Indian, English, and Dutch Occurrents, []”, in [Samuel] Purchas, Pvrchas His Pilgrimes. [], 1st part, London: [] William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, [], OCLC 960103045, 3rd book, § IIII, page 173:
        Novv he began another Trade, and became an Ingenor, hauing got eight Fire-brands of hell more to him, onely of purpoſe to ſet our houſe a fire.
      • 1627, Michaell Drayton [i.e., Michael Drayton], “The Battaile of Agin Court”, in The Battaile of Agincourt. [], London: [] A[ugustine] M[atthews] for VVilliam Lee, [], published 1631, OCLC 1011821086, page 12:
        Cannons vpon their Carriage mounted are, / VVhole Battery Fraunce muſt feele vpon her VValls, / The Engineer prouiding the Petar, / To breake the ſtrong Percullice, and the Balls / Of VVild fire deuis'd to throvv from farre, / To burne to ground their Pallaces and Halls: []
      • 1794 May 28, Edmund Burke, “Trial of Warren Hastings, Esq. Wednesday, 28th May 1794. First Day of Reply.”, in [Walker King], editor, The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, volume XV, new edition, London: [] [Luke Hansard & Sons] for C[harles] & J[ohn] Rivington, [], published 1827, OCLC 1096392342, pages 63–64:
        But your Lordships must have heard with astonishment, that, upon points of law, relative to the tenure of lands, instead of producing any law document or authority on the usages and local customs of the country, he has referred to officers in the army, colonels of artillery and engineers, to young gentlemen just come from school, not above three or four years in the country.
      • 1866, C[harles] Kingsley, “How Earl Godwin’s Widow Came to St. Omer”, in Hereward the Wake, “Last of the English.” [], volume I, London; Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Macmillan and Co., OCLC 977572437, page 341:
        And she began praising Hereward's valour, his fame, his eloquence, his skill as a general and engineer; and when he suggested, smiling, that he was an exile and an outlaw, she insisted he was all the fitter from that very fact.
    2. (obsolete) A soldier in charge of operating a weapon; an artilleryman, a gunner.
      • 1599, [Thomas Heywood], “The Second Part []”, in The First and Second Partes of King Edvvard the Fourth. [], London: [] I. W. for Iohn Oxenbridge, [], OCLC 1121315546; reprinted Philadelphia, Pa.; New York, N.Y.: The Rosenbach Company, 1922, OCLC 248974192:
        This is hard welcome, but it was not you, / At whom the fatal enginer did ayme, / My breaſt the levell was, though you the marke, / In which conſpiracie anſwere me Duke, / Is not thy ſoule as guiltie as the Earles?
      • [1633], George Herbert, “The Church-porch”, in [Nicholas Ferrar], editor, The Temple: Sacred Poems, and Private Ejaculations, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: [] Thomas Buck and Roger Daniel; and are to be sold by Francis Green, [], OCLC 1048966979; reprinted London: Elliot Stock, [], 1885, OCLC 54151361, page 9:
        Wit's an unruly engine, wildly ſtriking / Sometimes a friend, ſometimes the engineer.
      • 1716 March 6 (Gregorian calendar), Joseph Addison, “The Free-holder: No. 19. Friday, February 24. [1716.]”, in The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Esq; [], volume IV, London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], published 1721, OCLC 1056445272, page 426:
        An Author who points his ſatyr at a great man, is to be looked upon in the ſame view with the engineer who ſignalized himſelf by this ungenerous practice.
      • 1855 July 4, Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.: [James and Andrew Rome], OCLC 930780804, page v, column 1:
        In war he [the poet] is the most deadly force of the war. Who recruits him recruits horse and foot … he fetches parks of artillery the best that engineer ever knew.
  2. (by extension)
    1. A person professionally engaged in the technical design and construction of large-scale private and public works such as bridges, buildings, harbours, railways, roads, etc.; a civil engineer.
    2. Originally, a person engaged in designing, constructing, or maintaining engines or machinery; now (more generally), a person qualified or professionally engaged in any branch of engineering, or studying to do so.
      • 1598, John Florio, “Macanopoietico”, in A Worlde of Words, or Most Copious, and Exact Dictionarie in Italian and English, [], London: [] Arnold Hatfield for Edw[ard] Blount, OCLC 222555892, page 209, column 3:
        Macanopoietico, an inginer, an engine-maker.
      • 1623 November 8 (Gregorian calendar; first performance), Thomas Middleton, “The Triumphs of Integrity”, in A[rthur] H[enry] Bullen, editor, The Works of Thomas Middleton [] (The English Dramatists), volume VII, London: John C. Nimmo [], published 1886, OCLC 2863702, page 391:
        [N]ear St. Laurence-Lane his lordship receives an entertainment from an unparalleled masterpiece of art, called the Crystal Sanctuary, styled by the name of the Temple of Integrity, [] and more to express the invention and the art of the engineer, as also for motion, variety, and the content of the spectators, this Crystal Temple is made to open in many parts, at fit and convenient times, and upon occasion of the speech; []
    3. A person trained to operate an engine; an engineman.
      1. (chiefly historical) A person who operates a steam engine; specifically (nautical), a person employed to operate the steam engine in the engine room of a ship.
        • 1857, R[alph] W[aldo] Emerson, “Wealth”, in English Traits, Boston, Mass.: Phillips, Sampson, and Company, OCLC 401140, pages 170–171:
          The machinery [the steam engine] has proved, like the balloon, unmanageable, and flies away with the aeronaut. Steam, from the first, hissed and screamed to warn him; it was dreadful with its explosion, and crushed the engineer. The machinist has wrought and watched, engineers and firemen without number have been sacrificed in learning to tame and guide the monster.
        • 1892, Walt Whitman, “Song of the Answerer”, in Leaves of Grass [], Philadelphia, Pa.: David McKay, publisher, [], OCLC 1514723, part 1, page 136:
          The engineer, the deck-hand on the great lakes, or on the Mississippi or St. Lawrence or Sacramento, or Hudson or Paumanok sound, claims him.
        • 1902 January–March, Joseph Conrad, “Typhoon”, in George R. Halkett, editor, The Pall Mall Magazine, volume XXVI, London: Printed by Hazell, Watson & Viney, OCLC 1003917852, chapter IV, page 226, column 2:
          One of the stokers was disabled, the others had given in, the second engineer and the donkey-man were firing-up. The third engineer was standing by the steam-valve. The engines were being tended by hand.
      2. (US, firefighting) A person who drives or operates a fire engine.
      3. (chiefly US, rail transport) A person who drives or operates a locomotive; a train driver.
    4. Preceded by a qualifying word: a person who uses abilities or knowledge to manipulate events or people.
      a political engineer
      • 1727, [Daniel Defoe], “Of the Present Pretences of the Magicians: How They Defend Themselves; and Some Examples of Their Practice”, in A System of Magick; or, A History of the Black Art. [], London: [] J. Roberts [], OCLC 2135262, page 319:
        Now that I may not ſeem to paſs my Cenſure raſhly, I deſire that my more intelligent Readers will pleaſe to reduce the following things into Meaning, if they can, and favour us with the Interpretation; being ſome particular Account of the Life of this famous, religious Ingineer, for I know not what elſe to call him, and the Titles of ſome of his Books.
    5. (often derogatory) A person who formulates plots or schemes; a plotter, a schemer.
      • 1593, Gabriel Harvey, Pierces Supererogation: Or A New Prayse of the Old Asse, London: [] Iohn Wolfe, OCLC 165778203; republished as John Payne Collier, editor, Pierces Supererogation: Or A New Prayse of the Old Asse. A Preparative to Certaine Larger Discourses, Intituled Nashes S. Fame (Miscellaneous Tracts. Temp. Eliz. & Jac. I; no. 8), [London: [s.n.], 1870], OCLC 23963073, page 10:
        But the trimme ſilke-worme I looked for (as it were in a proper contempt of common fineneſſe) prooveth but a ſilly glow-woorme, and the dreadfull enginer of phraſes, in steede of thunderboltes, ſhooteth nothing but dogboltes and catboltes, and the homelieſt boltes of rude folly: []
      • 1603 (first performance; published 1605), Benjamin Jonson [i.e., Ben Jonson], “Seianus his Fall. A Tragœdie. []”, in The Workes of Ben Jonson (First Folio), London: [] Will[iam] Stansby, published 1616, OCLC 960101342, Act I, page 360:
        No, Silius, wee are no good inginers; / VVe vvant the fine arts, & their thriuing vſe, / Should make vs grac'd, or fauour'd of the times: / [] / VVe burne with no black ſecrets, vvhich can make / Vs deare to the pale authors; or liue fear'd / Of their ſtill vvaking iealouſies, to raiſe / Our ſelues a fortune, by ſubuerting theirs.
      • 1903 October, Jack London, “Coronation Day”, in The People of the Abyss, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 1052903994, page 144:
        [T]he fighting men of England, masters of destruction, engineers of death!

Hyponyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

Translations[edit]

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.

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (transitive)
    1. To employ one's abilities and knowledge as an engineer to design, construct, and/or maintain (something, such as a machine or a structure), usually for industrial or public use.
    2. (specifically) To use genetic engineering to alter or construct (a DNA sequence), or to alter (an organism).
      • 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. To plan or achieve (a goal) by contrivance or guile; to finagle, to wangle.
  2. (intransitive)
    1. To formulate plots or schemes; to plot, to scheme.
      Synonym: machinate
    2. (rare) To work as an engineer.
      • 1870, Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Works and Days”, in Society and Solitude. Twelve Chapters, Boston, Mass.: Fields, Osgood, & Co., OCLC 926043624, page 144:
        What of the grand tools with which we engineer, like kobolds and enchanters,—tunnelling Alps, canalling the American Isthmus, piercing the Arabian desert?

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ engineer, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2021; “engineer, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
  2. ^ enǧinǒur, -er, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  3. ^ engineer, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2019; “engineer, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]