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.

Primary Meanings of engineer

a person who uses scientific knowledge to solve practical problems
design as an engineer
the operator of a railway locomotive
Full Definitions of engineer

n a person who uses scientific knowledge to solve practical problems

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

v design as an engineer

“He engineered the water supply project”
Type of:
design, plan
make a design of; plan out in systematic, often graphic form

v plan and direct (a complex undertaking)

direct, mastermind, orchestrate, organise, organize
plan and oversee the development and details of
Type of:
make plans for something

n the operator of a railway locomotive

engine driver, locomotive engineer, railroad engineer
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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