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nk4um Moderator
Posts: 901
April 13, 2012 19:27

Hey Jeff - touche. You're completely correct - in the strict sense of the same word used. What I meant was that in common parlance it might generally be presumed that an engineer is someone that creates or manages "engines". ie the top several entries in the dictionary...


  1. a machine for converting thermal energy into mechanical energy or power to produce force and motion.
  2. a railroad locomotive.
  3. a fire engine.
  4. any mechanical contrivance.
  5. a machine or instrument used in warfare, as a battering ram, catapult, or piece of artillery.

Of course, at the tail end of this list and going back millenia, a much more early reference to engine would be a "seige engine".

But the assumption that engine means a machine for motive force is actually only a very modern assumption and, as I was hoping to show, is not the origin of "engineer".

Thanks for keeping me honest...


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nk4um User
Posts: 112
April 13, 2012 18:30"Engineer"

re: http://wiki.netkernel.org/wink/wiki/NetKernel/News/3/19/April_13th_2012#The_Unwritten_Laws_of_Engineering

Incidentally, did you know that the word "engineer" predates the word "engine" by several centuries?

I didn't realize that "several" also means "-1".

"Engineer" (View)
Origin: 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

"Engine" (View)
Origin: 1250–1300; Middle English engin < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin ingenium nature, innate quality, especially mental power, hence a clever invention, equivalent to in- in-2 + -genium, equivalent to gen- begetting ( see kin) + -ium -ium
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