Definition of rotary engine in US English:

rotary engine


  • 1An engine which produces rotary motion or which has a rotating part or parts.

    • ‘In 1782, Watt developed a rotary engine that could turn a shaft and drive machinery to power the machines to spin and weave cotton cloth.’
    • ‘‘Rotational motion is at the heart of many conventional machines, such as rotary engines, screws and clocks,’ said Professor Ozin.’
    • ‘He produced a steam pressure gauge to record pressure in a cylinder and a rotary engine which could drive various forms of machinery.’
    • ‘The motor is one of the two known molecular rotary engines that derive their energy from a transmembrane ion motive gradient.’
    • ‘As a boy I worked in my fathers machine shop and at the age of 15 I invented a rotary engine.’
    1. 1.1 An aircraft engine with a fixed crankshaft around which cylinders and propeller rotate.
      • ‘I can still hear the chattering of their machine guns, Vickers and Spandaus, and the blipping of rotary engines as the planes came in to land, sideslipping from one side to another.’
      • ‘A couple of the Sopwiths took to the sky and it was rather amazing to watch these slow, graceful aircraft flying - their rotary engines providing a most unusual sound track.’
      • ‘The whole point is that it's actually quite simple and most of the fighters in WW1 flew with rotary engines.’
      • ‘He loaded one two extra 50-hp Gnome rotary engines, three propellers, extra landing wheels, nuts, bolts, turnbuckles, wires, fabric, and everything else needed to rebuild a badly damaged aircraft.’
      • ‘These engines differed from the usual rotary engines in that the engine rotated clockwise as seen from the front and the propeller rotated counter-clockwise.’
    2. 1.2 A Wankel engine.
      • ‘Mazda may have been nothing more than a division of Ford for the past 25 years, but they're the only ones to have persevered with Wankel rotary engines.’
      • ‘Mr Steel's interest in gadgets and gizmos started in 1953 when he attempted to find a method of balancing the notoriously unstable German Wankle rotary engine.’
      • ‘Power's biggest break came in 1973, when Mazda Motor Corp. started hyping its new Wankel rotary engine.’
      • ‘After an absence of several model years, Canadian auto buyers will once again have the opportunity to buy a vehicle with a Wankel rotary engine.’
      • ‘Wankle rotary engines use the Otto cycle, but they do it in a very different way than four-stroke piston engines.’