engineer (n.) Look up engineer at
mid-14c., enginour, "constructor of military engines," from Old French engigneor, from Late Latin ingeniare (see engine); general sense of "inventor, designer" is recorded from early 15c.; civil sense, in reference to public works, is recorded from c.1600. Meaning "locomotive driver" is first attested 1832, American English. A "maker of engines" in ancient Greece was a mekhanopoios.
engineer (v.) Look up engineer at
1843 (but see engineering), from engineer (n.). Figurative sense of "arrange, contrive" is attested from 1864, originally in a political context. Related: Engineered. Middle English had a verb engine "contrive, construct" (late 14c.), also "seduce, trick, deceive" (c.1300) and "put to torture."