American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A small auxiliary steam engine used for hoisting or pumping, especially aboard ship.
- n. A small locomotive.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In machinery, a small steam-engine used where great power is not required, and often to perform some subsidiary operation. Donkey-engines on steam-vessels, etc., are used for pumping water into the boilers or from the hold, handling the cargo, hoisting the anchor or the sails, etc.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. a small auxiliary engine not used for propelling, but for pumping water into the boilers, raising heavy weights, and like purposes.
- n. (nautical) a small engine (as one used on board ships to operate a windlass)
- n. a locomotive for switching rolling stock in a railroad yard
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