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An engine is something that produces some effect, normally called work, from a given input.

In the case of the internal-combustion engine the effect of the engine is rotational torque which can be used to cause motion, generate electricity, pump water or compress gas.

The origin of engineering was the working of engines. There is an overlap in English between two meanings of the word "engineer": 'those who operate engines' and 'those who design and construct new items'.

The word "engine" is also sometimes used to refer to a device that performs a particular task but not "work" in the physical sense. This usage is particularly prevalent in computer science, where terms like search engine, "3-D graphics rendering engine" and "text-to-speech engine" are common.

Typical automobile engines include the reciprocating engine, Wankel engine, orbital, inline, horizontally opposed or V. All of these configurations refer to the position of the pistons in the cylinder block.

A special case is the air engine which is driven by compressed air.

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