An engineer is someone who possesses the knowledge or expertise to create and implement plans or build machines. Even if you're not an engineer, when you engineer you make plans and solve problems.

An interesting part of the word engineer is the suffix -eer, which turns a word into one that means someone who does something indicated by the base it is affixed to — a mountaineer climbs mountains, an auctioneer presides at auctions, an engineer designs, coming from the Old French engin, which means "skill or cleverness." If you want to become an engineer, you'll have to study all kinds of mechanical systems, not just engines.

Definitions of engineer
  1. noun
    a person who uses scientific knowledge to solve practical problems
    synonyms: applied scientist, technologist
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    Gottlieb Daimler
    German engineer and automobile manufacturer who produced the first high-speed internal combustion engine (1834-1900)
    Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel
    German engineer (born in France) who invented the diesel engine (1858-1913)
    Bryan Donkin
    English engineer who developed a method of preserving food by sterilizing it with heat and sealing it inside a steel container--the first tin can (1768-1855)
    Alexandre Gustave Eiffel
    French engineer who constructed the Eiffel Tower (1832-1923)
    Richard Buckminster Fuller
    United States architect who invented the geodesic dome (1895-1983)
    George Washington Goethals
    United States army officer and engineer who supervised the construction of the Panama Canal (1858-1928)
    Hugo Junkers
    German aircraft engineer who designed the first all-metal airplane (1859-1935)
    Charles Franklin Kettering
    United States electrical engineer who made numerous automotive improvements (including the electric starter) (1876-1958)
    Leonardo da Vinci
    Italian painter and sculptor and engineer and scientist and architect; the most versatile genius of the Italian Renaissance (1452-1519)
    John Augustus Roebling
    United States engineer (born in Germany) who designed and began construction of the Brooklyn bridge (1806-1869)
    Claude Elwood Shannon
    United States electrical engineer who pioneered mathematical communication theory (1916-2001)
    Sir Charles William Siemens
    engineer who was a brother of Ernst Werner von Siemens and who moved to England (1823-1883)
    Elmer Ambrose Sperry
    United States engineer and inventor of the gyrocompass (1860-1930)
    Richard Trevithick
    English engineer who built the first railway locomotive (1771-1833)
    Thomas Augustus Watson
    United States telephone engineer who assisted Alexander Graham Bell in his experiments (1854-1934)
    James Watt
    Scottish engineer and inventor whose improvements in the steam engine led to its wide use in industry (1736-1819)
    Sir Henry Bessemer
    British inventor and metallurgist who developed the Bessemer process (1813-1898)
    Wernher Magnus Maximilian von Braun
    United States rocket engineer (born in Germany where he designed a missile used against England); he led the United States Army team that put the first American satellite into space (1912-1977)
    Vannevar Bush
    United States electrical engineer who designed an early analogue computer and who led the scientific program of the United States during World War II (1890-1974)
    Father of Radio
    United States electrical engineer who in 1907 patented the first triode vacuum tube, which made it possible to detect and amplify radio waves (1873-1961)
    Ray M. Dolby
    United States electrical engineer who devised the Dolby system used to reduce background noise in tape recording
    Oliver Heaviside
    English physicist and electrical engineer who helped develop telegraphic and telephonic communications; in 1902 (independent of A. E. Kennelly) he suggested the existence of an atmospheric layer that reflects radio waves back to earth (1850-1925)
    Arthur Edwin Kennelly
    United States electrical engineer noted for his work on the theory of alternating currents; independently of Oliver Heaviside he discovered the existence of an atmospheric layer that reflects radio waves back to earth (1861-1939)
    Guglielmo Marconi
    Italian electrical engineer who invented wireless telegraphy and in 1901 transmitted radio signals across the Atlantic Ocean (1874-1937)
    Reginald Joseph Mitchell
    English aeronautical engineer (1895-1937)
    Ernst Werner von Siemens
    German electrical engineer (1816-1892)
    Sir Clive Marles Sinclair
    English electrical engineer who founded a company that introduced many innovative products (born in 1940)
    David Barnard Steinman
    United States civil engineer noted for designing suspension bridges (including the George Washington Bridge) (1886-1960)
    Charles Proteus Steinmetz
    United States electrical engineer and inventor (born in Germany) (1865-1923)
    Nikola Tesla
    United States electrical engineer and inventor (born in Croatia but of Serbian descent) who discovered the principles of alternating currents and developed the first alternating-current induction motor and the Tesla coil and several forms of oscillators (1856-1943)
    Elihu Thomson
    United States electrical engineer (born in England) who in 1892 formed a company with Thomas Edison (1853-1937)
    Sir Frank Whittle
    English aeronautical engineer who invented the jet aircraft engine (1907-1996)
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    aeronautical engineer
    an engineer concerned with the design and construction of aircraft
    aerospace engineer
    an engineer of aircraft and space vehicles
    army engineer, military engineer
    a member of the military who is trained in engineering and construction work
    automotive engineer
    an engineer concerned with the design and construction of automobiles
    civil engineer
    an engineer trained to design and construct and maintain public works (roads or bridges or harbors etc.)
    electrical engineer
    a person trained in practical applications of the theory of electricity
    marine engineer, naval engineer
    a naval officer responsible for the operation and maintenance of the ship's engines
    mechanical engineer
    a person trained to design and construct machines
    metallurgical engineer, metallurgist
    an engineer trained in the extraction and refining and alloying and fabrication of metals
    mining engineer
    an engineer concerned with the construction and operation of mines
    coder, computer programmer, programmer, software engineer
    a person who designs and writes and tests computer programs
    rocket engineer, rocket scientist
    an engineer who builds and tests rockets
    an engineer who determines the boundaries and elevations of land or structures
    a programmer who cracks (gains unauthorized access to) computers, typically to do malicious things
    a programmer for whom computing is its own reward; may enjoy the challenge of breaking into other computers but does no harm
    cyber-terrorist, cyberpunk, hacker
    a programmer who breaks into computer systems in order to steal or change or destroy information as a form of cyber-terrorism
    highway engineer
    a civil engineer who specializes in the design and construction of roads and highways
    the surveyor who marks positions with a range pole
    locater, locator
    a person who fixes the boundaries of land claims
    a military engineer who does sapping (digging trenches or undermining fortifications)
    a military engineer who lays or detects and disarms mines
    a specialist in tribology
    type of:
    individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul
    a human being
  2. verb
    design as an engineer
    “He engineered the water supply project”
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    type of:
    design, plan
    make a design of; plan out in systematic, often graphic form
  3. verb
    plan and direct (a complex undertaking)
    synonyms: direct, mastermind, orchestrate, organise, organize
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    plan and oversee the development and details of
    type of:
    make plans for something
  4. noun
    the operator of a railway locomotive
    synonyms: engine driver, locomotive engineer, railroad engineer
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    John Luther Jones
    United States railroad engineer who died trying to stop his train from crashing into another train; a friend wrote a famous ballad describing the incident (1864-1900)
    type of:
    manipulator, operator
    an agent that operates some apparatus or machine
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