pro·​pel·​ler | \prə-ˈpe-lər \
variants: or less commonly propellor

Definition of propeller 

: one that propels especially : a device that consists of a central hub with radiating blades placed and twisted so that each forms part of a helical surface and that is used to propel a vehicle (such as a ship or airplane)

Examples of propeller in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Traditional propeller thrusters tend to emit acoustic noise in marine environment. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "How Robot Stingrays Could One Day Sink a Battleship," 3 May 2018 Instead of usual propellers, the ship is driven by three underwater Azipods, which provide thrust in any direction. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "Does the U.S. Stand a Chance Against Russia's Icebreakers?," 4 Apr. 2018 An alarm was triggered on the M/V Woods Hole’s starboard propeller Monday, and workers replaced a part of the mechanism later that day, according to the agency. Jeremy C. Fox,, "Steamship Authority cancels ferry trips on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket routes," 10 July 2018 One is that the propellers and rotors used to lift conventional aircraft are not effective at small scales, where the viscosity of air is a problem. The Economist, "The world’s lightest wireless flying machine lifts off," 15 May 2018 When the Erebus breaks its propeller on floating ice, the optimistic Franklin decides to forge ahead in hopes of reaching open water. Asher Elbein, The Atlantic, "The Terror Is More Than a Chilling Monster Show," 1 May 2018 But almost everything that businesses make—from phone cases to propellers to drills—lies between these bookends of tchotchkes and jet-engines, and is often made of metal or composites of metals and other materials. Jason Pontin, WIRED, "3D Printing Is the Future of Factories (for Real This Time)," 11 July 2018 Engines produce thrust by moving air through a nozzle or propellers. Joshua Brustein,, "Boeing asked for quiet jet packs but got a bunch of air motorcycles," 14 June 2018 The vehicles will need to travel up to 100 kilometers on a single battery charge and come equipped with four sets of electric-powered propellers dedicated solely to takeoff and landing. Larry Greenemeier, Scientific American, "Here's What's Needed for Self-Flying Taxis and Delivery Drones to Really Take Off," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'propeller.' 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 propeller

1780, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for propeller

Last Updated

31 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for propeller

The first known use of propeller was in 1780

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More Definitions for propeller



English Language Learners Definition of propeller

: a device with two or more blades that turn quickly and cause a ship or aircraft to move


pro·​pel·​ler | \prə-ˈpe-lər \

Kids Definition of propeller

: a device having a hub fitted with blades that is made to turn rapidly by an engine and that causes a ship, power boat, or airplane to move

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