pro·pel | \prə-ˈpel \
propelled; propelling

Definition of propel 

transitive verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for propel


actuate, drive, impel, move, work

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

Newsletter Sign-up Uber grappled with nearly a year of scandal and legal headaches, propelled by Ms. Fowler’s allegations. Greg Bensinger, WSJ, "Uber’s HR Chief Leaves After Probe Into Handling of Discrimination Claims," 11 July 2018 The contracts with Amazon could drive billions of dollars in public spending to the online giant in coming years, propelled in part by the ease of purchasing online — but which, like in consumer retail, risk penalizing independent retailers. Abha Bhattarai, The Seattle Times, "How Amazon’s contracts to sell supplies to cities and organizations may end up costing more," 10 July 2018 Bono and crew made themselves beloved by taking the force of post-punk and making big anthemic songs propelled by the Edge’s chiming guitars and the martial drive of the rhythm section. John Adamian,, "From Sam Hunt And Reba To U2 And King X: A Week Of Big-Name Concerts," 23 June 2018 Sixteen musicians play on the album’s eight tracks, but Comerford’s vision enables them to produce a unified sound that harks back to 70s rock, gliding over neat strumming and propelled by a patient rhythm section. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Chicago rock vet Thomas Comerford’s new album Blood Moon was worth the four-year wait," 15 June 2018 The apparent drowning death came as San Diego County beaches remain under a high surf advisory, with 4- to 6-foot waves propelled by a south swell. Karen Kucher,, "Man found dead from apparent drowning in Pacific Beach," 12 June 2018 In the morning light, images of the decimated house at S75 W22410 Guthrie Drive showed widely scattered debris propelled by the explosion, which was reported at 3:14 a.m. Monday, June 11. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Early morning explosion and fire destroys Vernon home, leaves one injured," 11 June 2018 The ball pushed back and back, propelled by serendipitous winds, and over the wall for a solo home run, his 24th of the season. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Bocchi, Clemens lead Texas to CWS for 36th time," 11 June 2018 His hat popped off as if propelled by a spring, the ball ricocheted away, and both runners scored. Nick Moyle, Houston Chronicle, "UT drops Game 1 of super regional to Tennessee Tech," 9 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about propel

Phrases Related to propel

propelling pencil

Statistics for propel

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for propel

The first known use of propel was in 1558

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
propelled; propelling

Kids Definition of propel

: to push or cause to move usually forward or onward

Keep scrolling for more

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).


not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things 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!