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

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Synonyms for propel


drive, push, shove, thrust

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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

But since each incidence of cheating is unique, so too are the emotions that propel each song. Elena Nicolaou,, "The Most Achy-Breaky Songs About Cheating," 5 July 2019 The cardboard rockets will be set up in circles representing the five F-1 engines that propelled Saturn V into space. Jeremy Rehm,, "Want to celebrate Apollo 11 achievement? Events around world — and on Florida’s Space Coast — have you covered," 2 July 2019 The cardboard rockets will be set up in circles representing the five F-1 engines that propelled Saturn V into space. Washington Post, "Don’t recall Apollo 11? Global festivities have you covered," 1 July 2019 Lawyers will count absentee ballots in the Democratic primary for Queens district attorney this week, but the progressive groups that propelled insurgent candidate Tiffany Cabán’s campaign are already eyeing their next targets. Katie Honan, WSJ, "Progressive Groups Eye New York Incumbents to Challenge," 30 June 2019 In the early morning hours of July 16, 1969, technicians at the Kennedy Space Center loaded upward of 750,000 gallons of fuel into the 363-foot Saturn V rocket that would successfully propel the Apollo 11 spacecraft toward the moon. Andrea Gawrylewski, Scientific American, "A Saturn V LEGO Set, a Moon Images Exhibit and New Science Books," 26 June 2019 Some landlords and property developers warned that the measure would frighten away investors and exacerbate a worsening housing shortage that has propelled rents higher. Erik Kirschbaum,, "Germany’s capital plans 5-year ban on rent hikes to fight gentrification," 20 June 2019 Game 6 on Thursday (9 p.m. ET, ABC) was made possible because of the Splash Brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and a torrent of three-pointers that propelled Golden State to a 106-105 victory in an elimination game Monday. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Warriors edge Raptors with late surge to force Game 6 back in Oakland," 10 June 2019 The councilman found himself without some of the advantages that propelled his strength in the first round. Dylan Mcguinness,, "San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg wins second term after bruising battle," 8 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of propel

1558, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for propel

Middle English propellen, from Latin propellere, from pro- before + pellere to drive — more at felt

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Statistics for propel

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for propel

The first known use of propel was in 1558

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on propel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with propel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for propel

Spanish Central: Translation of propel

Nglish: Translation of propel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of propel for Arabic Speakers

Comments on propel

What made you want to look up propel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

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