Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Engine and Motor

Engine vs Motor


The word “engine” comes from the Latin word “ingenium.” An engine is a device or system (electrical, mechanical, chemical, or even social, human, or political) which effects a result. For instance, a bomb is an engine, a crane is an engine, a water-powered mill is an engine, a political party is also an engine, and even a criminal gang is an engine. Gradually through the decades, “engine” became associated especially with boilers, fire, furnaces, and bombs. In short, any device which tended to get hot and explode. However, the system was still considered to be an “engine” and not just the prime mover. In the 20th century, a motor prime mover was called “the engine.” James Watt put the name “steam” in front of the engine to distinguish it from other engines of that time.

Engines are basically the devices which convert any form of energy to bring about mechanical effects. These are made up of pistons and cylinders. These may be categorized into various groups according to their function. An electrical engine is a device that converts electrical energy to mechanical energy; a device converting heat energy to mechanical energy is called combustion engines. Similarly, an engine making use of pressurized fluids is termed as an hydraulic engine.


Originally, “motor” was another word for “mover,” i.e., a thing which moves the rest of the device. “Motor” did not originate from “electric motor.” Long ago, motors were powered by wound springs. Faraday put the word “electric” in front of “motor” to distinguish it from other motors of that time.

The present-day motor, called the electric motor, is a device that converts the electrical energy to mechanical energy. The electric motor can be broadly categorized into two classes; the AC motor and the DC motor. The AC motor is driven by AC current, and the DC motor is run by DC electricity. Both of these may further be divided into various types depending on the power rating, horsepower, etc.


1.A motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy while an engine converts various other forms of energy to mechanical energy.
2.An engine is a mechanical device that uses a fuel source to create an output.
3.The word “engine” is generally used to refer to a reciprocating engine (steam or internal combustion) while “motor” is generally used to refer to a rotating device such as an electric motor.
4.An engine is made up of pistons and cylinders while a motor is made up of rotors and stators.

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  1. So GM (General Motors) and BMW (Bavarian Motor Works) have had it wrong for 100 years.

    I don’t think so. In fact, I KNOW better.

  2. “4.An engine is made up of pistons and cylinders while a motor is made up of rotors and stators.”

    So a turbine engine is a turbine motor that has not read: “An engine is a mechanical device that uses a fuel source to create an output.”

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