What do you and your car have in common? You both run on fuel. Whether its gasoline or nutritious food, fuel produces energy to get up and go.

Fuel can also act as a verb that has several different meanings, all related to stimulating something or providing energy. Your brother might fuel up on whole-wheat bread with peanut butter a few hours before a big game. A teacher assigns readings to fuel meaningful class discussion. Memories of your mom's delicious dinners might fuel your desire to learn to cook.

Primary Meanings of fuel

a substance that can be consumed to produce energy
provide with fuel
Full Definitions of fuel

n a substance that can be consumed to produce energy

“more fuel is needed during the winter months”
“they developed alternative fuels for aircraft”
show 38 types...
hide 38 types...
plant materials and animal waste used as fuel
occurs in natural gas; used in the manufacture of rubber and fuels
charcoal, wood coal
a carbonaceous material obtained by heating wood or other organic matter in the absence of air
coal gas
gaseous mixture produced by distillation of bituminous coal and used for heating and lighting
carbon fuel produced by distillation of coal
diesel fuel, diesel oil
a heavy mineral oil used as fuel in diesel engines
fuel that is burning and is used as a means for cooking
fossil fuel
fuel consisting of the remains of organisms preserved in rocks in the earth's crust with high carbon and hydrogen content
fuel oil, heating oil
a petroleum product used for fuel
a gasoline substitute consisting of 90% gasoline and 10% grain alcohol from corn
gas, gasolene, gasoline, petrol
a volatile flammable mixture of hydrocarbons (hexane and heptane and octane etc.) derived from petroleum; used mainly as a fuel in internal-combustion engines
something that can serve as a source of light
coal oil, kerosene, kerosine, lamp oil
a flammable hydrocarbon oil used as fuel in lamps and heaters
methanol, methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood spirit
a light volatile flammable poisonous liquid alcohol; used as an antifreeze and solvent and fuel and as a denaturant for ethyl alcohol
nuclear fuel
fuel (such as uranium) that can be used in nuclear reactors as a source of electricity
colorless gas found in natural gas and petroleum; used as a fuel
red fire
combustible material (usually salts of lithium or strontium) that burns bright red; used in flares and fireworks
combustible, combustible material
a substance that can be burned to provide heat or power
water gas
a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide with small amounts of other gases; made by blowing steam over hot coke or coal
wood used for fuel
igniter, ignitor, lighter
a substance used to ignite or kindle a fire
town gas
coal gas manufactured for domestic and industrial use
diesel oil used in cars and lorries with diesel engines; from d(iesel) e(ngine) r(oad) v(ehicle)
leaded gasoline, leaded petrol
gasoline treated with a lead compound to reduce motor knocks
fossil fuel consisting of carbonized vegetable matter deposited in the Carboniferous period
(a piece of) a substance that burns easily and can be used to start a coal or coke fire
paraffin, paraffin oil
(British usage) kerosine
gasoline jelled with aluminum soaps; highly incendiary liquid used in fire bombs and flamethrowers
gas, natural gas
a fossil fuel in the gaseous state; used for cooking and heating homes
gas oil
an oil formed through distillation of petroleum of intermediate boiling range and viscosity
crude, crude oil, fossil oil, oil, petroleum, rock oil
a dark oil consisting mainly of hydrocarbons
unleaded gasoline, unleaded petrol
gasoline that has not been treated with a lead compound
firewood cut and stacked in cords; wood sold by the cord
the large log at the back of a hearth fire
brand, firebrand
a piece of wood that has been burned or is burning
pine knot
a joint of pine wood used for fuel
kindling, punk, spunk, tinder, touchwood
material for starting a fire
substance that smolders when ignited; used to light fuses (especially fireworks)
Type of:
a particular kind or species of matter with uniform properties

v provide with fuel

Type of:
furnish, provide, render, supply
give something useful or necessary to

v take in fuel, as of a ship

“The tanker fueled in Bahrain”
take on more fuel, as of a plane, ship, or car
Type of:
take in, take up

v provide with a combustible substance that provides energy

fuel aircraft, ships, and cars”
gas up
fill with gasoline
provide with additional fuel, as of aircraft, ships, and cars
fill (a ship's bunker) with coal or oil
Type of:
furnish, provide, render, supply
give something useful or necessary to

v stimulate

fuel the debate on creationism”
Type of:
excite, shake, shake up, stimulate, stir
stir the feelings, emotions, or peace of

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.