Mechanical engineering
Engineering En`gi*neer"ing, n. Originally, the art of managing engines; in its modern and extended sense, the art and science by which the properties of matter are made useful to man, whether in structures, machines, chemical substances, or living organisms; the occupation and work of an engineer. In the modern sense, the application of mathematics or systematic knowledge beyond the routine skills of practise, for the design of any complex system which performs useful functions, may be considered as engineering, including such abstract tasks as designing software ({software engineering}). [1913 Webster +PJC]

Note: In a comprehensive sense, engineering includes architecture as a mechanical art, in distinction from architecture as a fine art. It was formerly divided into military engineering, which is the art of designing and constructing offensive and defensive works, and civil engineering, in a broad sense, as relating to other kinds of public works, machinery, etc.

{Civil engineering}, in modern usage, is strictly the art of planning, laying out, and constructing fixed public works, such as railroads, highways, canals, aqueducts, water works, bridges, lighthouses, docks, embankments, breakwaters, dams, tunnels, etc.

{Mechanical engineering} relates to machinery, such as steam engines, machine tools, mill work, etc.

{Mining engineering} deals with the excavation and working of mines, and the extraction of metals from their ores, etc. Engineering is further divided into steam engineering, gas engineering, agricultural engineering, topographical engineering, electrical engineering, etc. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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