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

On the whole, St. Johns County — in the St. Augustine area — ranked No. 1 in the state, propelled by improvements in economic well-being, fourth-grade reading scores and the number of children with health insurance. Kate Santich,, "Major decline in poverty rate for Central Florida children, report shows," 11 Sep. 2019 Its LightSail 2 spacecraft launched June 25 and is the first small spacecraft in Earth's orbit to be propelled solely by sunlight. Andrealeinfelder, Houston Chronicle, "Bill Nye to speak at Houston commercial space conference," 5 Sep. 2019 Dorian went from a Category 2 storm to a Category 5 storm in just two days, propelled by a process called rapid intensification, before dropping back to a Category 2 storm on Tuesday afternoon. Rachael Lallensack, Smithsonian, "Hurricane Dorian Batters the Bahamas Before Barreling Along the U.S. Coast," 4 Sep. 2019 When set up and propelled by other weather patterns, water vapor from near the equator flows in wide ribbons hundreds of miles long above our heads. Anchorage Daily News, "Atmospheric rivers are sometimes good, sometimes bad for Alaska," 31 Aug. 2019 With just the right amount of crispiness and tangy heat, it’s propelled by a sauce with wing bar DNA. Mike Sutter,, "52 Weeks of Burgers: Beefy’s on the Green," 30 Aug. 2019 That’s a lot of sound and power, the music to be propelled by Mike Allemana’s guitar, Joshua Ramos’ bass and Samuel Jewell’s drums. 1:30 p.m., Jazz and Heritage Pavilion. Howard Reich,, "What not to miss as Jazz Fest gets into full swing this weekend," 29 Aug. 2019 As anti-vaccine sentiment has grown on social media -- some of it propelled by Russian bots and trolls -- more and more parents have opted to not immunize their children. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, "CDC: 'Reasonable chance' US will lose measles elimination status," 28 Aug. 2019 Nothing odd about that, except that the missile itself was also to be propelled by nuclear energy. The Economist, "An accident in Russia points to the risks of atomic aviation," 15 Aug. 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

30 Sep 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).


fear of the number 13

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