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

  • n. A ramjet airplane engine designed for hypersonic flight that burns fuel in the supersonic airstream produced by the plane.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A jet engine capable of propelling an aircraft at hypersonic speeds; combustion of the fuel/air mixture occurs at supersonic speeds


s(upersonic) + c(ombustion) + ramjet.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Supersonic combustion + ramjet (Wiktionary)


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  • "Scramjet is a very handy semi-acronym, standing for Supersonic Combustion Ramjet. In layman's terms this amounts to an engine with a forward vent that scoops in air as it travels through the atmosphere. The air is compressed through narrowing chambers (and therefore heated), before being mixed with hydrogen. This combination combusts, emitting an exhaust through a rearward nozzle and producing enough thrust to reach hypersonic speeds of between Mach 7 (seven times the speed of sound) and maybe as high as Mach 18, leaving nothing more toxic in the air than a trail of water vapour, for the most part."
    - Geoffrey Wright, The coming of age of Scramjet,, 10 September 2009.

    September 12, 2009