from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A locomotive engine sent on before a railway-train to see the way is clear, especially as a precursor to a train conveying important personages.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
If it should turn out to be a particularly heavy train, the driver will request the pilot-engine driver to hook on and go perhaps as far as
John, in fine, was playing the part of a pilot-engine.
Yet they know that before it comes the pilot-engine will come, running ahead about so many minutes to insure the safety of the way.
The coming of the pilot-engine heightens the intensity of watching, for now soon the king will come.
To the accustomed ears the whistle and clank of a checked and angry pilot-engine might have been discerned amid the hullabaloo; but to one whose experience in such matters was small, it might have seemed as though six or seven mad engines were sitting up on end, like monster rabbits on a bank, pawing the air and screaming out their hearts in the wild delirium of unlimited power and ungovernable fury.