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

These poses held the potential to reduce pain, strengthen muscles that weakened from my unevenness, improve balance and mobility, and propel me toward a more aligned state. Lauren Depino, Glamour, "My Scoliosis Caused Me Pain and Shame—Then It Helped Me Learn to Find Alignment," 10 Apr. 2019 All of your lower-body muscles—including the calf muscles, quads, and glutes—are working to propel you forward and absorb force from the ground. Amy Marturana, SELF, "Here’s What Proper Running Form Actually Is and How Much You Should Care About It," 2 Apr. 2019 For Candace, her childhood role as DJ Tanner propelled her into a world of opportunities, amassing a net worth of $10 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "Candace Cameron Bure's Net Worth Proves There's Nothing the 'Fuller House' Star Can't Do," 19 Mar. 2019 Just 32 percent of respondents expressed confidence in him, a drop of 6 percentage points in one month, and there has been a sharp decrease in support from left-leaning voters who helped propel him into office in the spring of 2017. Adam Nossiter, New York Times, "France’s Macron Defends His Business-Friendly Stance," 9 July 2018 The only way things will improve is by consistent progress, propelling us forward. Georgia Fowler, Harper's BAZAAR, "How to Fight Islamophobia," 23 Mar. 2019 Cars jostle, jumping forward a spot here, a spot or two there, tucking in behind a car making a move, reducing the drag on the tail of the car in front of them, propelling them both forward. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "One Day at Daytona," 22 Mar. 2019 Army Crawl: Arms propel the body forward while tummy drags on the floor. Karla Walsh, Woman's Day, "When Do Babies Crawl? Here's Everything You Need to Know," 28 Jan. 2019 The writers, actors, and costume department pulled out all the stops to propel the story forward while paying homage to its iconic characters. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "The Big Bang Theory," 25 Oct. 2018

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

13 May 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).


a strong desire or propensity

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