Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to engine: search engine
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!

employ a steam engine to crack a nut

To use excessive, overcomplicated, or extravagant means or force to accomplish something relatively minor or simple. With this new system of issuing licenses, the government has employed a steam engine to crack a nut: four separate departments now handle each stage of an application, when a single department could easily process applications from start to finish.
See also: crack, employ, engine, nut, steam, to

engine room

The main source of talent, power, or ability in a team or group, likened to the room that houses a ship's engine. Sarah is our engine room, so with her injured, I'm not sure how we'll be able to win on Saturday.
See also: engine, room

soup up

To modify something in order to increase its power or performance. A noun or pronoun can be used between "soup" and "up." He's spent a fortune souping up his car for drag racing. We've souped our computers up to run incredibly complex programs at lightning speeds.
See also: soup, up

throttle down

1. To cause a vehicle to reduce in speed by decreasing the flow of fuel to the engine. A noun or pronoun can be used between "throttle" and "down" to specify what is being slowed down. The engineer throttled the train down to a stop so that the crew could begin unloading the cargo. You'll want to start throttling down the engine as you pull into the harbor.
2. Of a computer or component thereof, to begin operating with difficulty and at a lower speed or level of efficiency. After about 30 minutes, the computer gets really hot and then the CPU starts throttling down to about half speed. The network will automatically throttle down if too many people are using the Internet at once.
See also: down, throttle
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

soup something up

to increase the power of something. He souped his car up so it will do nearly 120 miles per hour. If only I could soup up this computer to run just a little faster.
See also: soup, up

throttle something down

to reduce the speed of an engine by adjusting the throttle. She throttled her engine down and came to a stop. She throttled down her engine.
See also: down, throttle
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

soup up

Make something more powerful; especially, add speed to an engine. For example, He was riding around in that car he'd souped up, or They had to soup up the sound system for the outdoor concert. [Slang; c. 1930]
See also: soup, up
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

soup up

v. Slang
To modify something so as to increase its capacity to perform or satisfy, especially to add horsepower or greater speed potential to an engine or a vehicle: The mechanic souped the car up with racing tires and a bigger engine. I souped up my computer with a faster processor and a liquid cooling system.
See also: soup, up
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in classic literature ?
While he was speaking the bell of the engine rang, and we dashed away after dropping a few passengers, but receiving no new ones.
The engine came to a pause in its vicinity, with the usual tremendous shriek.
The engine now announced the close vicinity of the final station-house by one last and horrible scream, in which there seemed to be distinguishable every kind of wailing and woe, and bitter fierceness of wrath, all mixed up with the wild laughter of a devil or a madman.
The prince's subjects are now pretty numerously employed about the station-house, some in taking care of the baggage, others in collecting fuel, feeding the engines, and such congenial occupations; and I can conscientiously affirm that persons more attentive to their business, more willing to accommodate, or more generally agreeable to the passengers, are not to be found on any railroad.
Hence, also, is obtained a plentiful supply of fuel for the use of the engines. Whoever had gazed into the dismal obscurity of the broad cavern mouth, whence ever and anon darted huge tongues of dusky flame, and had seen the strange, half-shaped monsters, and visions of faces horribly grotesque, into which the smoke seemed to wreathe itself, and had heard the awful murmurs, and shrieks, and deep, shuddering whispers of the blast, sometimes forming themselves into words almost articulate, would have seized upon Mr.
"I've known a derelict up-end and sift her engines out of herself and flicker round the Lower Lanes for three weeks on her forward tanks only.
All three engines are at work, for the sooner we have skated over this thin ice the better.
With the subsistence of the sea, we were able to go to work upon the damaged engines to some effect, and I also set men to examining the gravitation-screen generators with a view to putting them in working order should it prove not beyond our resources.
For two weeks we labored at the engines, which indisputably showed evidence of having been tampered with.
The work upon the engines had progressed to such an extent that within a few hours we might expect to be able to proceed under our own power westward in the direction of Pan-American waters.
"They've repaired the engines and the generators both," exclaimed one of the men.
The wood-encased bulk of the low-pressure cylinder, frowning portly from above, emitted a faint wheeze at every thrust, and except for that low hiss the engines worked their steel limbs headlong or slow with a silent, determined smoothness.
The furnaces roared, and the powerful engines whizzed and clanked, like a great metallic heart.
It can be concluded that Google search engine and Metacrawler Meta search engine showed the best performance.
All unserviceable 6.2L engines must be sent to DLA Disposition Services (formerly called DRMO), and replaced with the 6.5L detuned engine, NSN 2815-01-439-6664.