Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various machines in which the kinetic energy of a moving fluid is converted to mechanical power by the impulse or reaction of the fluid with a series of buckets, paddles, or blades arrayed about the circumference of a wheel or cylinder.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. any of various rotary machines that use the kinetic energy of a continuous stream of fluid (a liquid or a gas) to turn a shaft

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A water wheel, commonly horizontal, variously constructed, but usually having a series of curved floats or buckets, against which the water acts by its impulse or reaction in flowing either outward from a central chamber, inward from an external casing, or from above downward, etc.; -- also called turbine wheel.
  • n. A type of rotary engine with a set of rotating vanes, diagonally inclined and often curved, attached to a central spindle, and obtaining its motive force from the passage of a fluid, as water, steam, combusted gases, or air, over the vanes. Water turbines are frequently used for generating power at hydroelectric power stations, and steam turbines are used for generating power from coal- or oil-fired electric power stations. Turbines are also found in jet engines, and in some automobile engines.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A pair of turbines fastened on one shaft, either back to back or face to face, an arrangement which balances the pressure due to the weight of the driving water-column, and releases the stresses on the footsteps or thrust-bearings: usual in modern high-powered installations.
  • n. A water-wheel driven by the impact or reaction of a flowing stream of water, or by impact and reaction combined.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. rotary engine in which the kinetic energy of a moving fluid is converted into mechanical energy by causing a bladed rotor to rotate

Etymologies

French, from Latin turbō, turbin-, spinning top, perhaps from Greek turbē, turmoil.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin turbinis, genitive of turbo ("circular movement, top, reel, spindle") (Wiktionary)

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