pro·​pel | \ prə-ˈpel How to pronounce propel (audio) \
propelled; propelling

Definition of propel

transitive verb

: to drive forward or onward by or as if by means of a force that imparts motion

Synonyms for propel


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of propel in a Sentence

He grabbed him and propelled him through the door. The train is propelled by steam.
Recent Examples on the Web While singing with Gaga, the actor imagined himself in the scene from the movie during which Jackson Maine, Cooper's character, brings Gaga's Ally onstage for a first-time duet that would propel Ally into stardom and the two into romance. Sabrina Park, Harper's BAZAAR, 18 Nov. 2021 Lucky the plane flight is quicker than using his feet, but it’s his feet that could propel him on the journey of a lifetime. Eric Sondheimer Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 17 Nov. 2021 Left over were only infected cells in which the viral genetic code was spliced into a kind of genetic dead zone — regions of the cellular DNA that were too distant from the levers that propel viral replication. Benjamin Ryan, NBC News, 15 Nov. 2021 That, according to the Welch narrative, was how to create quarterly expectations-beating earnings-per-share growth that would propel the stock higher by double-digit percentages every year. Peter Cohan, Forbes, 9 Nov. 2021 The best guest hosts managed to do this even while suggesting other sorts of charisma that could propel the show into its next decades, while the worst kept the focus on themselves. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 8 Nov. 2021 Stand-alone superhero flicks get seeded with the Easter eggs and MacGuffins that will propel them toward big team-up movies like Captain America: Civil War or Avengers: Endgame. Angela Watercutter, Wired, 2 Nov. 2021 The exhibitions range from the searingly personal to investigations of the top-down systems that propel incarceration rates., 28 Oct. 2021 The factors that propel our economic superiority — the unplanned and lightly regulated, individualistic, and seemingly disordered free markets — chafe against the technocratic sensibilities of Democrats. David Harsanyi, National Review, 23 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'propel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of propel

1558, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for propel

Middle English propellen "to drive away, expel," borrowed from Latin prōpellere "to push or thrust forward, compel to go onward," from prō- "before, in front" + pellere "to beat against, push, strike, rouse, expel" — more at pro- entry 2, pulse entry 1

Learn More About propel

Dictionary Entries Near propel

prop boy



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for propel

Last Updated

1 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Propel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for propel



English Language Learners Definition of propel

: to push or drive (someone or something) forward or in a particular direction


pro·​pel | \ prə-ˈpel How to pronounce propel (audio) \
propelled; propelling

Kids Definition of propel

: to push or cause to move usually forward or onward

More from Merriam-Webster on propel

Nglish: Translation of propel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of propel for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!