An engine or motor is a machine designed to convert energy into useful mechanical motion. Heat engines, including internal combustion engines and external combustion engines (such as steam engines) burn a fuel to create heat which is then used to create motion. Electric motors convert electrical energy into mechanical motion, pneumatic motors use compressed air and others, such as clockwork motors in wind-up toys use elastic energy. In biological systems, molecular motors like myosins in muscles use chemical energy to create motion.
Originally an engine was a mechanical device that converted force into motion. Military devices such as catapults, trebuchets and battering rams are referred to as siege engines. The term “gin” as in cotton gin is recognised as a short form of the Old French word engin, in turn from the Latin ingenium, related to ingenious. Most devices used in the industrial revolution were referred to as engines, and this is where the steam engine gained its name.