engineer [en-juh-neer] Word Origin noun

  1. a person trained and skilled in the design, construction, and use of engines or machines, or in any of various branches of engineering: a mechanical engineer; a civil engineer.
  2. a person who operates or is in charge of an engine.
  3. Also called locomotive engineer. Railroads. a person who operates or is in charge of a locomotive.
  4. a member of an army, navy, or air force specially trained in engineering work.
  5. Digital Technology. a person skilled in the design and programming of computer systems: a software engineer; a web engineer.
  6. a skillful manager: a political engineer.

verb (used with object)

  1. to plan, construct, or manage as an engineer: He’s engineered several big industrial projects.
  2. to design or create using the techniques or methods of engineering: The motor has been engineered to run noiselessly.
  3. to arrange, manage, or carry through by skillful or artful contrivance: He certainly engineered the election campaign beautifully.

Origin of engineer 1350–1400; engine + -eer; replacing Middle English engin(e)our Anglo-French engineor Old French engigneor Medieval Latin ingeniātor, equivalent to ingeniā(re) to design, devise (verbal derivative of ingenium; see engine) + Latin -tor -tor Related formssub·en·gi·neer, nounun·en·gi·neered, adjectivewell-en·gi·neered, adjective British Dictionary definitions for well-engineered engineer noun

  1. a person trained in any branch of the profession of engineering
  2. the originator or manager of a situation, system, etc
  3. a mechanic; person who repairs or services machines
  4. US and Canadian the driver of a railway locomotive
  5. an officer responsible for a ship’s engines
  6. Informal name: sapper a member of the armed forces, esp the army, trained in engineering and construction work

verb (tr)

  1. to originate, cause, or plan in a clever or devious mannerhe engineered the minister’s downfall
  2. to design, plan, or construct as a professional engineer

Word Origin for engineer C14: enginer, from Old French engigneor, from engignier to contrive, ultimately from Latin ingenium skill, talent; see engine Word Origin and History for well-engineered engineer n.

early 14c., “constructor of military engines,” from Old French engigneor, from Late Latin ingeniare (see engine); general sense of “inventor, designer” is recorded from early 15c.; civil sense, in reference to public works, is recorded from c.1600. Meaning “locomotive driver” is first attested 1832, American English. A “maker of engines” in ancient Greece was a mekhanopoios.

engineer v.

1843 (but cf. engineering), from engineer (n.). Figurative sense of “arrange, contrive” is attested from 1864, originally in a political context. Related: Engineered.

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