Definition of fuel in English:

fuel

noun

mass noun
  • 1Material such as coal, gas, or oil that is burned to produce heat or power.

    ‘one aircraft ran out of fuel and had to ditch’
    count noun ‘buses powered by alternative fuels’
    as modifier ‘an engine with high fuel consumption’
    • ‘The salt mine is one of more than 500 fleets using biodiesel fuel.’
    • ‘However, the solid rocket fuel was only produced in Germany and the Nazis had banned its export.’
    • ‘Almost all of the fuels used for transportation and the majority of the fuels used for heat and electricity come from petroleum products.’
    • ‘The main imports are raw materials, petroleum-based fuels, and consumer goods.’
    • ‘On September 5, truckers in France mounted nationwide blockades in protest against high diesel fuel prices.’
    • ‘Biodiesel is a cleaner burning fuel that can be made from domestic renewable resources such as vegetable oil.’
    • ‘If we burn a fossil fuel like coal, the tax is $15 per tonne.’
    • ‘They burn methanol fuel and need to get push started.’
    • ‘In 50 years' time there will be very little in the way of fuels to heat, cool, light and power the homes of a rising population, in Australia and worldwide.’
    • ‘Burning fossil fuels is the main way humans add greenhouse gases to the environment.’
    • ‘Soot is a product of incomplete combustion, especially of diesel fuels, biofuels, coal and outdoor biomass burning.’
    • ‘Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, producing mostly just water vapor and carbon dioxide.’
    • ‘Adding liquid fuel could result in a flash fire.’
    • ‘The afterburner flames had ignited the fuel being dumped.’
    • ‘For US Airways, rising fuel costs essentially canceled out the airline's labor cuts.’
    • ‘What's more, Northwest didn't attribute the fare increase to rising fuel costs.’
    • ‘We can burn these fuels as power, for automobiles, aircraft, and so forth.’
    • ‘With high diesel fuel prices, selling close to home is important.’
    • ‘They are also well versed in the characteristics of fuels available for home heating such as wood, gas and oil.’
    • ‘As around half of Australia's primary energy is derived from coal, a better alternative could be the production of liquid fuels from coal using the South African Sasol processes.’
    power source, heat source, combustible, propellant
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1
      short for nuclear fuel
      • ‘Iran says it needs to enrich uranium to produce fuel for its future nuclear power plants.’
      • ‘Roxby Downs uranium mine opened in 1998 and produces enough fuel to make 1400 nuclear weapons per year - from the by-products alone.’
      • ‘The research is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and focuses on developing nuclear fuels that are better at conducting heat than conventional fuels.’
      • ‘Uranium enriched to low grades is used for fuel in nuclear reactors, but further enrichment makes it suitable for atomic bombs.’
      • ‘Spent fuel can be reprocessed and used for nuclear weapons.’
      • ‘Solutions would also need to be found for safely disposing of radioactive spent fuel.’
      • ‘The days of reprocessing spent fuel to produce plutonium and uranium for potential reuse are numbered.’
      • ‘From spent fuel rods, new fuel is created using uranium more effectively and reducing atomic waste.’
      • ‘This would mean preventing Iranian enrichment of uranium or reprocessing of spent fuel to produce plutonium.’
      • ‘Such spent fuel could be reprocessed to produce plutonium for nuclear arms.’
      • ‘Then it backtracked on part of that deal, fueling American suspicions that it was not simply developing fuel for nuclear reactors.’
      • ‘North Korea claims it already has the bomb - and is reprocessing spent fuel to make more.’
      • ‘Most fuel for nuclear reactors is made from enriched uranium oxide.’
      • ‘Several countries today separate plutonium and uranium from irradiated fuel for recycling.’
      • ‘Currently China stores spent fuel in water tanks inside the plants.’
      • ‘Work will focus on the techniques used to safely store weapons-grade material and spent radioactive fuel from nuclear reactors.’
      • ‘We now believe they have started reprocessing fuel at Yongbyon.’
      • ‘If 20 tonnes of highly radioactive liquefied uranium and plutonium fuel had leaked out of a reprocessing system you'd think there might be a bit of a fuss wouldn't you?’
      • ‘Depleted uranium is a by-product of the enrichment of uranium for the production of nuclear weapons and reactor fuel.’
      • ‘Their spent fuel has become less radioactive with age, and therefore less dangerous to handle, but they still contain potent bomb-making material.’
    2. 1.2 Food, drink, or drugs as a source of energy.
      ‘any protein intake can also be used as fuel’
      • ‘Eating more low-GI foods will not only give you a steady source of fuel throughout the day, it will also help you eat less - and that can make up for a missed workout.’
      • ‘Food is not only fuel, but it can also have a powerful psychological effect.’
      • ‘Diet is the key to losing fat: Body fat is stored energy, a fuel source for the body, waiting to be used.’
      • ‘They should be your first choice as a fuel source for energy and growth.’
      • ‘When we go on holiday together she is massively energetic, and then suddenly fades and requires food fuel.’
      • ‘I couldn't fancy anyone who saw lingering in a market as a waste of time, who viewed food as a source of fuel or status.’
      • ‘Carbohydrates are your body's main fuel source and can be found in foods such as pasta, potatoes, bread, rice and cereals.’
      • ‘The latest science says the following six foods provide healthy fuel for burning fat and building muscle.’
      • ‘The other fuel - food - is desperately necessary to his health and his life.’
      • ‘It is not an ideal situation; the brain's preferred source of fuel is sugar.’
      • ‘Some kind of fuel is converted to energy which in turn allows me to move.’
      • ‘This sugar is vital to your health because it's your body's main source of fuel.’
      • ‘The heart normally uses fatty acid as its primary fuel source for energy.’
      • ‘They are light, a great source of essential carbohydrate fuel, and are low in fat despite the chocolate topping.’
      nourishment, sustenance, nutriment, nutrition, food, fodder
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A thing that sustains or inflames passion, argument, or other intense emotion.
      ‘the remuneration packages will add fuel to the debate about top-level rewards’
      • ‘Although neither my friends nor myself ever owned one, these toy robots were fuel for the imagination.’
      • ‘This rage is fuel for Islamic fundamentalism and terror.’
      • ‘Recent ruling adds new fuel to debate over cross-burning in public places’
      • ‘But her birthplace has probably helped fuel her passion for things tropical.’
      • ‘They are experienced enough to know how timing and careful selection of language can add fuel to inflamed prejudices.’
      • ‘That passion is the emotional fuel driving the cognitive process.’
      • ‘And this gives a lot of fuel to those arguments, and it's really heartbreaking.’
      • ‘This clear flaunting of Islamic law by displaying pictures of scantily clad women will only add fuel to sentiments that the U.S. is trying to undermine Muslim culture in Iraq.’
      • ‘It adds fuel to the debate about whether his home city of York should be celebrating the devastating plot.’
      • ‘His comments are certain to add fuel to the already fiery debate between councils and the Government over urban planning in the region.’
      • ‘The wider gap could add fuel to a long-term debate swirling around when modern human behavior, as opposed to modern human anatomy, emerged.’
      • ‘The latest record by the David Lowery-led Cracker adds fuel to the argument that Americans don't understand irony.’
      • ‘A lukewarm attitude of the government is sure to add fuel to the uneasiness of the people when the sales of imported American beef have been virtually suspended.’
      • ‘And, even if it is not solely by Shakespeare, at least this production will add merry fuel to the debate.’
      • ‘And it's likely to add fuel to the controversy about games and violence.’
      • ‘Christian proselytizing is fuel for Muslim fundamentalists, but it is also a source of uneasiness between the pope and some of his more moderate and like-minded religious peers.’
      • ‘The links to the military and to the drug trade have been fuel for critics of a $1.6 billion anti-narcotics aid package that is being debated in Washington.’
      • ‘Hate, preached from street corners and rogue lecterns is fuel for the internal fires of dissatisfaction in receptive, conditioned brains.’
      • ‘What happened in Bali sickens me - and not only because of the appalling suffering and loss of life, but because of the way it added spurious fuel to the cause of the warmongers.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the controversial sales add fuel to a growing international debate over who owns stolen artifacts.’
      power source, heat source, combustible, propellant
      encouragement, incentive, ammunition, incitement, stimulus
      View synonyms

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Supply or power (an industrial plant, vehicle, or machine) with fuel.

    ‘power stations fuelled by low-grade coal’
    • ‘It's like fueling the engine of a race car with the same regular, unleaded gasoline you put into your lawn mower!’
    • ‘Enriched uranium can be used to fuel power plants or to make weapons if highly enriched.’
    • ‘This process is but one cog in the machine of war that obtains the resources that fuels the machine of war that obtains the recources.’
    • ‘And Cummins imports engines fueled by natural gas for mainland bus fleets.’
    • ‘An onsite cogeneration plant fueled by chipped tree waste provides hot water and electricity for the whole complex and heat for work spaces.’
    • ‘This, of course, required a steam plant fueled by coal.’
    • ‘Your electric could rise too, because 17 percent of power plants are fueled by natural gas.’
    • ‘Increased peasant purchasing power would then fuel the growth of industry as it responded to increased demand.’
    • ‘Most US power plants are fueled by coal, fuel oil, and natural gas, the only fuels available in sufficient quantities to meet the demand.’
    • ‘So, too, is the natural gas which will be ‘monetised’ to fuel the plant, among other factors of production.’
    • ‘We believe it is critical for success that we address the underlying factors of risk to HIV, which fuel HIV transmission.’
    • ‘About the simplest way to fuel an engine was to call in a tank wagon from the local Shell distributor and have him fill the switcher on the crew's 20-minute lunch break.’
    • ‘The amount of electricity produced is much less than power plants fueled by coal or natural gas, but with very low operating costs, the solar project is expected quickly to turn a profit while emitting zero pollution.’
    • ‘Because the railway networks are straining to transport 400 million tonnes of coal to fuel electricity plants, many other goods are left behind.’
    • ‘Price hikes would also be up to the state-run Chinese Petroleum Corporation, as it is the company that supplies oil and gas to fuel the power plants.’
    • ‘However, as the country started to industrialise itself, more and more coal was needed to fuel steam engines and furnaces.’
    • ‘Driving a car fueled by something other than gasoline or diesel fuel is no longer the stuff of science fiction.’
    • ‘When England was the center of the Industrial Revolution, coal fueled the steam engines.’
    • ‘We continue to rely on aircraft carriers and troops to assure adequate supplies of oil to fuel our cars and heat our homes.’
    • ‘Sixty years ago, American industrial and financial power fueled the rebuilding of a world capitalist order that had been shattered by depression and war.’
    power, charge, fire, stoke up, supply with fuel
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  • 2Cause (a fire) to burn more intensely.

    ‘petrol may have been used to fuel the fire’
    ‘don't open a door or you could fuel the flames’
    • ‘After several years of research, Bain is convinced that the on-board hydrogen certainly fueled the fire, but it played no role in starting it.’
    • ‘The fierce Santa Ana winds are fueling the flames, driving those fires about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles.’
    • ‘Customers fueled the fire by trying to put out the flames with their drinks.’
    • ‘The fabric and wood fueled the flames while fire units worked to extinguish the blaze.’
    • ‘Authorities say powerful Santa Ana winds are fueling the fires.’
    • ‘Our land typifies the condition of the vast forests of the American West, where increasingly crowded undergrowth has fueled the huge fires of recent years.’
    • ‘Despite their best efforts, station officer Joe Hassle said a lack of access to water and the straw fuelling the fire hampered the crews.’
    • ‘Those hot and dry Santa Ana winds which have fueled this fire from the outset are not blowing today in the Los Angeles area.’
    • ‘A drought in Portugal is helping to fuel huge fires now.’
    • ‘Dry conditions and wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour are fueling the fires.’
    • ‘It fuels the amazing fire tornado, which pirouettes in a fiery red glow at ten-minute intervals.’
    • ‘What you want to do is get down to lower weights on fuel so you're not carrying a lot of fuel, so if anything happened that the plane broke apart you wouldn't have a big fire fueled by a lot of fuel on board.’
    1. 2.1 Sustain or inflame (an intense feeling)
      ‘his resignation fuelled speculation of an imminent cabinet reshuffle’
      • ‘After that line has been crossed her own deeply buried shame fuels her resentments and fears and it seems there is no hope for her.’
      • ‘That statistic, though, will only fuel the feeling that a longer burst of Czech activity will be too much for Greece back in this stadium in the second semi-final on Thursday night.’
      • ‘She kissed him with a passion fueled by her intense fear of being found out, and she felt him kissing her back.’
      • ‘While this reflects the fact that we all have God-given talents and will often desire to express and utilise them, the motivations fuelling passion can run deep and be complex.’
      • ‘The move has fuelled resentment and protests among ‘plains’ people who fear they will be disadvantaged in the new state.’
      • ‘Is liberty a price worth paying, for a security that will only fuel our feelings of insecurity?’
      • ‘Neither action will make us any safer, but fear fuels a futile desire to turn back time and freeze the world the way it was, or the way we thought it was, before the news hit.’
      • ‘The attacks fueled a feeling of patriotism across the country.’
      • ‘The last thing I want is for my resignation to fuel unrest at the club.’
      • ‘The paintings seemed stirred by the same passions that fuel the Spanish love for bullfights.’
      • ‘Such feelings are fueled by the bounty that this land is blessed with - more than two thousand varieties of the mango in all conceivable combinations of shape, flavour, aroma, and texture.’
      • ‘Behind these successes is a background of unemployment, which can be used to fuel racist feelings.’
      • ‘This period of insecurity and pain has since fuelled his desire for rebellion.’
      • ‘Comments like these just fuel feelings of social isolation.’
      • ‘Add to this a few allegations of cover-ups and fear mongering and an absolute media frenzy that further fuelled the feeling of terror throughout US and the world.’
      • ‘His words inflamed, and helped fuel the violent unrest of the days to come, an ugly venting of accumulated African rage.’
      • ‘He said the threats directed at the nurses appeared to have started with other hospital staff and he promised to investigate and get rid of anyone found to be fuelling negative feeling towards the nurses.’
      • ‘Reading some of the hot stories fueled the feelings.’
      • ‘We can all look around and find situations that fuel a certain feeling in our lives.’
      • ‘The pain only fueled my boiling rage at the fact.’
      stimulate, boost, encourage, intensify, fortify, support, nurture
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Phrases

  • add fuel to the fire (or flames)

    • Cause a situation or conflict to become more intense.

      • ‘But there is another group that adds fuel to the fire, and that is predatory young men.’
      • ‘By any sensible logic, fighting terrorism with war is only counter-productive and in the long run only adds fuel to the fire.’
      • ‘Regardless, the behavior of these security guards only adds fuel to the fire of the far left, in that the more things like this happen, the more they can cry about police state tactics.’
      • ‘I'm even afraid to respond to this, for fear that it adds fuel to the fire.’
      • ‘There is no denying that the mass media and pop song fans play a vital role in adding fuel to the flames.’
      • ‘I think having this number of men held for this length of time without trial simply adds fuel to the fire in the Middle East.’
      • ‘It is very important therefore that emotions, particularly on the volatile land expropriation issue, be kept in check on all sides; and the President should show the way instead of adding fuel to the fire in this regard.’
      • ‘It adds fuel to the fire, and to the pain and hatred on the other side.’
      • ‘And yet some free traders have gotten on board with the desire to use protectionist means to boost prices and thereby add fuel to the fire of socialized medicine.’
      • ‘We are all in the game to promote football and talking down to a player is simply adding fuel to the flames and has to be stamped out.’
      increase, magnify, amplify, augment, intensify, heighten, deepen, enhance, boost, inflate, escalate
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: from Old French fouaille, based on Latin focus ‘hearth’ (in late Latin ‘fire’).

Pronunciation

fuel

/fjuː(ə)l/