Definition of fuel in US English:


nounPlural fuels

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

    • ‘They are also well versed in the characteristics of fuels available for home heating such as wood, gas and oil.’
    • ‘Soot is a product of incomplete combustion, especially of diesel fuels, biofuels, coal and outdoor biomass burning.’
    • ‘The afterburner flames had ignited the fuel being dumped.’
    • ‘However, the solid rocket fuel was only produced in Germany and the Nazis had banned its export.’
    • ‘The salt mine is one of more than 500 fleets using biodiesel fuel.’
    • ‘The main imports are raw materials, petroleum-based fuels, and consumer goods.’
    • ‘For US Airways, rising fuel costs essentially canceled out the airline's labor cuts.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On September 5, truckers in France mounted nationwide blockades in protest against high diesel fuel prices.’
    • ‘Burning fossil fuels is the main way humans add greenhouse gases to the environment.’
    • ‘Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, producing mostly just water vapor and carbon dioxide.’
    • ‘Almost all of the fuels used for transportation and the majority of the fuels used for heat and electricity come from petroleum products.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Biodiesel is a cleaner burning fuel that can be made from domestic renewable resources such as vegetable oil.’
    • ‘We can burn these fuels as power, for automobiles, aircraft, and so forth.’
    • ‘Adding liquid fuel could result in a flash fire.’
    • ‘What's more, Northwest didn't attribute the fare increase to rising fuel costs.’
    • ‘With high diesel fuel prices, selling close to home is important.’
    • ‘If we burn a fossil fuel like coal, the tax is $15 per tonne.’
    power source, heat source, combustible, propellant
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    1. 1.1
      short for nuclear fuel
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Such spent fuel could be reprocessed to produce plutonium for nuclear arms.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Work will focus on the techniques used to safely store weapons-grade material and spent radioactive fuel from nuclear reactors.’
      • ‘From spent fuel rods, new fuel is created using uranium more effectively and reducing atomic waste.’
      • ‘We now believe they have started reprocessing fuel at Yongbyon.’
      • ‘Currently China stores spent fuel in water tanks inside the plants.’
      • ‘Most fuel for nuclear reactors is made from enriched uranium oxide.’
      • ‘Iran says it needs to enrich uranium to produce fuel for its future nuclear power plants.’
      • ‘North Korea claims it already has the bomb - and is reprocessing spent fuel to make more.’
      • ‘Roxby Downs uranium mine opened in 1998 and produces enough fuel to make 1400 nuclear weapons per year - from the by-products alone.’
      • ‘Uranium enriched to low grades is used for fuel in nuclear reactors, but further enrichment makes it suitable for atomic bombs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Spent fuel can be reprocessed and used for nuclear weapons.’
      • ‘This would mean preventing Iranian enrichment of uranium or reprocessing of spent fuel to produce plutonium.’
      • ‘Several countries today separate plutonium and uranium from irradiated fuel for recycling.’
      • ‘Then it backtracked on part of that deal, fueling American suspicions that it was not simply developing fuel for nuclear reactors.’
    2. 1.2 Food, drink, or drugs as a source of energy.
      ‘any protein intake can also be used as fuel’
      • ‘When we go on holiday together she is massively energetic, and then suddenly fades and requires food fuel.’
      • ‘They are light, a great source of essential carbohydrate fuel, and are low in fat despite the chocolate topping.’
      • ‘The latest science says the following six foods provide healthy fuel for burning fat and building muscle.’
      • ‘The heart normally uses fatty acid as its primary fuel source for energy.’
      • ‘Food is not only fuel, but it can also have a powerful psychological effect.’
      • ‘Carbohydrates are your body's main fuel source and can be found in foods such as pasta, potatoes, bread, rice and cereals.’
      • ‘Some kind of fuel is converted to energy which in turn allows me to move.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They should be your first choice as a fuel source for energy and growth.’
      • ‘This sugar is vital to your health because it's your body's main source of fuel.’
      • ‘Diet is the key to losing fat: Body fat is stored energy, a fuel source for the body, waiting to be used.’
      • ‘It is not an ideal situation; the brain's preferred source of fuel is sugar.’
      • ‘The other fuel - food - is desperately necessary to his health and his life.’
      • ‘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.’
      nourishment, sustenance, nutriment, nutrition, food, fodder
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    3. 1.3 A thing that sustains or inflames passion, argument, or other emotion or activity.
      ‘the remuneration packages will add fuel to the debate about top-level rewards’
      • ‘And it's likely to add fuel to the controversy about games and violence.’
      • ‘Recent ruling adds new fuel to debate over cross-burning in public places’
      • ‘Although neither my friends nor myself ever owned one, these toy robots were fuel for the imagination.’
      • ‘It adds fuel to the debate about whether his home city of York should be celebrating the devastating plot.’
      • ‘But her birthplace has probably helped fuel her passion for things tropical.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His comments are certain to add fuel to the already fiery debate between councils and the Government over urban planning in the region.’
      • ‘Hate, preached from street corners and rogue lecterns is fuel for the internal fires of dissatisfaction in receptive, conditioned brains.’
      • ‘And this gives a lot of fuel to those arguments, and it's really heartbreaking.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The wider gap could add fuel to a long-term debate swirling around when modern human behavior, as opposed to modern human anatomy, emerged.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the controversial sales add fuel to a growing international debate over who owns stolen artifacts.’
      • ‘And, even if it is not solely by Shakespeare, at least this production will add merry fuel to the debate.’
      • ‘The latest record by the David Lowery-led Cracker adds fuel to the argument that Americans don't understand irony.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This rage is fuel for Islamic fundamentalism and terror.’
      power source, heat source, combustible, propellant
      encouragement, incentive, ammunition, incitement, stimulus
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verbfuels, fuelled, fuelling, fueled, fueling

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

    ‘the plan includes a hydroelectric plant to fuel a paper factory’
    figurative ‘a big novel that is fueled by anger and revenge’
    • ‘Increased peasant purchasing power would then fuel the growth of industry as it responded to increased demand.’
    • ‘It's like fueling the engine of a race car with the same regular, unleaded gasoline you put into your lawn mower!’
    • ‘When England was the center of the Industrial Revolution, coal fueled the steam engines.’
    • ‘Because the railway networks are straining to transport 400 million tonnes of coal to fuel electricity plants, many other goods are left behind.’
    • ‘Enriched uranium can be used to fuel power plants or to make weapons if highly enriched.’
    • ‘An onsite cogeneration plant fueled by chipped tree waste provides hot water and electricity for the whole complex and heat for work spaces.’
    • ‘Your electric could rise too, because 17 percent of power plants are fueled by natural gas.’
    • ‘We continue to rely on aircraft carriers and troops to assure adequate supplies of oil to fuel our cars and heat our homes.’
    • ‘Most US power plants are fueled by coal, fuel oil, and natural gas, the only fuels available in sufficient quantities to meet the demand.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And Cummins imports engines fueled by natural gas for mainland bus fleets.’
    • ‘So, too, is the natural gas which will be ‘monetised’ to fuel the plant, among other factors of production.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This, of course, required a steam plant fueled by coal.’
    • ‘Driving a car fueled by something other than gasoline or diesel fuel is no longer the stuff of science fiction.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sixty years ago, American industrial and financial power fueled the rebuilding of a world capitalist order that had been shattered by depression and war.’
    • ‘However, as the country started to industrialise itself, more and more coal was needed to fuel steam engines and furnaces.’
    power, charge, fire, stoke up, supply with fuel
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    1. 1.1fuel upno object (of a person) eat a meal.
      ‘arrive straight from work and fuel up on the complimentary buffet’
      • ‘This is also the time to concentrate on optimal hydration and fuelling up with carbohydrates.’
      • ‘When they get there, some birds may spend three weeks or more in Cuba, resting and fueling up for the rest of their journey.’
      • ‘A leg workout can and should take a lot of energy, so make sure you fuel up before the workout.’
      • ‘To prevent this, I make sure I have snacks like fruit or meal-replacement bars with me so that whenever I have a few free minutes, I can fuel up.’
      • ‘While Jerry guzzled coffee and ordered all the greasy meat on the menu, Tom fueled up on carbs with multigrain cereal and toast, and protein from eggs and dairy to replenish his power.’
      • ‘At day's end, you'll fuel up on healthy, creative Southwestern cuisine using chilies, vegetables and sauces unique to New Mexico.’
      • ‘You should fuel up with a large high-carbohydrate dinner to fully stock the fuel tanks in your muscles for the next morning's exercise.’
      • ‘After waking, fuel up with a PB & J sandwich, yogurt and an apple.’
      • ‘It may feel awkward or unnatural to miss a meal or not eat when everyone else does, but fueling up when your tank is already full only adds up to unwanted pounds.’
      • ‘For all its pretensions Subiaco has a village feel to it, and it's easy to while away a morning here inspecting the art galleries and fashion boutiques before fuelling up at a snazzy café.’
      • ‘Along the way, snack on foods like trail mix and cheese, and fuel up often.’
      • ‘They open for breakfast a half-hour before the store opens, so you can fuel up before embarking on your shopping trip.’
      • ‘But there's to be said - flavor being one; cost another - for the old-school approach to fueling up.’
      • ‘So to start this trip, after fueling up with a pasta lunch in Italian-accented North Beach, my sister and I stroll along Columbus Avenue, popping into Molinari Delicatessen just to inhale the mingling scents of salami and garlic.’
      • ‘In fact, we think that stopping for lunch during an all-day hike or bike adventure shouldn't just be about fueling up for the second leg of the trip.’
      • ‘The restaurant soon filled up with NYPD officers, who, apparently, were also fuelling up for a full day of protest.’
      • ‘There will be a pit stop at Foley's of Garryhill for about an hour and a half where participants can fuel up on soup and sandwiches.’
      • ‘If you don't have time for a bowl of high-fiber cereal, grab a container of lowfat yogurt, slice of toast, piece of fruit or carton of milk so you can fuel up while heading to class.’
      • ‘My sister and I were driving home for break and dropped by Wendy's to fuel up.’
      • ‘So we stopped off at the local coffee shop to fuel up on caffeinated courage before heading out to a bar, where we closed the place down.’
  • 2Cause (a fire) to burn more intensely.

    • ‘Authorities say powerful Santa Ana winds are fueling the fires.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It fuels the amazing fire tornado, which pirouettes in a fiery red glow at ten-minute intervals.’
    • ‘Despite their best efforts, station officer Joe Hassle said a lack of access to water and the straw fuelling the fire hampered the crews.’
    • ‘Dry conditions and wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour 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.’
    • ‘The fierce Santa Ana winds are fueling the flames, driving those fires about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles.’
    • ‘A drought in Portugal is helping to fuel huge fires now.’
    • ‘Those hot and dry Santa Ana winds which have fueled this fire from the outset are not blowing today in the Los Angeles area.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 (a feeling or activity)
      ‘his private pain fuels his passion as an actor’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Behind these successes is a background of unemployment, which can be used to fuel racist feelings.’
      • ‘We can all look around and find situations that fuel a certain feeling in our lives.’
      • ‘She kissed him with a passion fueled by her intense fear of being found out, and she felt him kissing her back.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This period of insecurity and pain has since fuelled his desire for rebellion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His words inflamed, and helped fuel the violent unrest of the days to come, an ugly venting of accumulated African rage.’
      • ‘The move has fuelled resentment and protests among ‘plains’ people who fear they will be disadvantaged in the new state.’
      • ‘The paintings seemed stirred by the same passions that fuel the Spanish love for bullfights.’
      • ‘Reading some of the hot stories fueled the feelings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The pain only fueled my boiling rage at the fact.’
      • ‘Is liberty a price worth paying, for a security that will only fuel our feelings of insecurity?’
      • ‘Comments like these just fuel feelings of social isolation.’
      stimulate, boost, encourage, intensify, fortify, support, nurture
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  • 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.’
      • ‘It adds fuel to the fire, and to the pain and hatred on the other side.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 think having this number of men held for this length of time without trial simply adds fuel to the fire in the Middle East.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There is no denying that the mass media and pop song fans play a vital role in adding fuel to the flames.’
      • ‘By any sensible logic, fighting terrorism with war is only counter-productive and in the long run only adds fuel to the fire.’
      • ‘I'm even afraid to respond to this, for fear that it adds fuel to the fire.’
      increase, magnify, amplify, augment, intensify, heighten, deepen, enhance, boost, inflate, escalate
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Middle English: from Old French fouaille, based on Latin focus ‘hearth’ (in late Latin ‘fire’).