The driver of the Amtrak train that craburned in Philadelphia is referred to as an engineer in the US, not a driver. Why?




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Although it sounds odd to British ears this day, train drivers were for some time recognized as engineers in 19th Century Britain.


The original definition of engineer, as someone who designed or constructed engines or various other machinery, goes back to the 1300s and has organized to today in both the UK and the US. But it can be used to someone who opeprices tools and the one responsible for its style, states British lexicographer Susie Dent.


From the 1730s "engineer" in North American English was being provided as a synonym for "engineman", she says, applied especially to the driver or operator of a fire engine, then later on to chauffeurs of steamships and also steam-powered locomotives.


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image source, OED

The Oxford English Dictionary cites this use in the UK in 1816 from the Asiatic Journal: "A locomotive engine was exploded at Newcastle, and a number of world shed their stays, from the folly of the man (calling himself an engineer), locking dvery own the safety-valve, that his machine could go off in style!"


This use travelled throughout the Atlantic wright here, Dent states, the Americans are simply using a much more literal sense of "engineer". The sufsolve -eer normally shows an "agent noun", she says, describing a person who performs the activity of the verb, in this situation operating/acting on an engine.


The term engineer as driver is seldom supplied in the UK this particular day, although a trade union representing train chauffeurs is called the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and also Fireguys (Aslef), founded in the late 1nine Century. An Aslef spokesman sassist the name reflected the definition of the time.


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picture resource, Getty Images

Americans would never speak to the operator of a train a driver, constantly engineer, states Jesse Sheidreduced, the previous US editor-at-huge of the OED. "It's a longstanding function of American English. It's remained in Amerideserve to usage given that the early on 1830s, and also had in dictionaries of Americanisms given that the mid-1nine Century."


Tbelow are no translation difficulties for fans of the well-known Thomas & Friends children's present, which is adapted in the US so that drivers favor Mr Perkins are referred to as engineers.



the earliest documented use of engineer as train driver was 1816 in the UKit indicates someone that opeprices equipment as well as the older interpretation involving design/constructionnow, Americans usage both meanings of the word, however tright here are just remnants of the driver definition in the UK


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