pro·​pel·​ler | \ prə-ˈpe-lər How to pronounce propeller (audio) \
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

Another, more immediate reason Kuznetsov needs a drydock: its propellers were removed, and without them the ship cannot sail on her own. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia’s Beleaguered Aircraft Carrier Could Be Scrapped If New Repair Yard Can’t Be Found," 9 Apr. 2019 These are propelled by underwater ramjets rather than propellers and travel inside a bubble of gas to reduce friction, achieving speeds in excess of 200 mph. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Truth Behind Russia’s 'Apocalypse Torpedo'," 18 Jan. 2019 Among other things, the FAA wants manufacturers to demonstrate that production materials, speed, altitude restrictions and emergency maneuvering capabilities will prevent injuries, particularly from propellers or other rotating parts. Andy Pasztor, WSJ, "FAA Proposes More Commercial Drone Operations at Night and Over People," 14 Jan. 2019 The engine swap was complemented by adding a 102-inch, four-blade MT propeller to harness the PT6's power. Eric Tegler, Ars Technica, "One man designed and built the ultimate bush plane," 11 Aug. 2018 Lightning arcs in the distance as our 12-seater Wilderness Safari propeller plane lifts off from the runway at Botswana’s Maun International Airport. Virginia Van Zanten, Vogue, "Why Botswana Should Top Your Travel List in 2019," 27 Dec. 2018 Authorities are being challenged while finding the cause of the crash of a 79-year-old propeller plane that killed all 20 people on board Saturday in the Swiss Alps. Frank Miles, Fox News, "Finding cause of Swiss Alps vintage plane crash proves major challenge; 20 killed," 5 Aug. 2018 With neither propellers nor jets, the airplane gets its thrust by applying a strong electric field to the air. Malcolm Ritter, The Seattle Times, "Experimental plane flies silently, may lead to quiet drones," 21 Nov. 2018 The electric power system also allows the helicopter to lose its large central blade and tail rotors while gaining a drone-like configuration of four arms that end with two counter-rotating propellers. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Workhorse brings an electric pickup truck, helicopter to Manhattan," 19 Aug. 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

16 May 2019

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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 How to pronounce propeller (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on propeller

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with propeller

Spanish Central: Translation of propeller

Nglish: Translation of propeller for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about propeller

Comments on propeller

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


one that collects or salvages junk

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