General English


  • noun a liquid fuel, made from petroleum, used in certain motor vehicles, especially buses, vans, trucks, etc.


Cars & Driving

  • symbolD

Origin & History of “diesel”

The name of this type of internal-combustion engine (which runs on oil rather than petrol) commemorates its inventor, the Paris-born Bavarian engineer Rudolf Diesel (1858–1913). He conceived his idea for the engine in the early 1890s. In its development stage he was almost killed when one exploded, but by 1897 he had succeeded in producing an operable engine. Within a year he was a millionaire. The term diesel is first recorded in English in 1894.