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


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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 Prairie shot over 49% from the field, but the Trojans outshot them in the free throw line 29 to 4 to propel them to victory. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "Little Rock edges Prairie View in first game of Louisville basketball's multi-team event," 26 Nov. 2020 But despite the Saints winning every game since its uneven start, the Bucs' convincing wins over the Raiders and Packers -- the two teams that defeated the Saints -- were enough to propel them back ahead. Jeff Nowak,, "Can Saints buck the odds? Despite 4-game win streak, Bucs on rise as NFC betting favorite," 7 Nov. 2020 The beasts had long tails to slither underwater, jaws packed with razor-sharp teeth and flipper-like limbs to propel themselves through the water. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, "New Prehistoric Marine Reptile Resembled a Miniature Mix of Loch Ness Monster, Alligator and Toothy T. Rex," 6 Nov. 2020 Nystrom is hoping a campaign laser-focused on drug pricing can propel her to Congress. Kate Sheridan, STAT, "Doctors in Congress, new e-cigarette taxes, stem cells, and abortion rights: Here’s what STAT is watching tonight," 3 Nov. 2020 And that mindset, coupled with his rare combination of physical gifts, appears likely to propel him to an elite level sooner rather than later. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Opinion: After strong start in Year 2, Cardinals QB Kyler Murray appears poised to meet elite expectations," 29 Oct. 2020 Two years ago, Whitmer lost the region overall but won in Kent County, where Grand Rapids is situated, and that helped propel her to the governorship. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Trump vs. Biden: Here's how every region of the state plays its part in the race," 23 Oct. 2020 When the air is moist, those droplets can catch the virus and propel it to the floor. Cameron Fields, cleveland, "Humidity can help ward off coronavirus transmission: Here’s a list of top humidifiers," 14 Oct. 2020 Michigan was part of a trio of states the president flipped in 2016, along with Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, that helped propel him to the White House. Adam Brewster And Elena Cox, CBS News, "Some Michigan voters dislike Trump's behavior, but they're voting for him anyway," 14 Oct. 2020

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 "to drive away, expel," borrowed from Latin prōpellere "to push or thrust forward, compel to go onward," from prō- "before, in front" + pellere "to beat against, push, strike, rouse, expel" — more at pro- entry 2, pulse entry 1

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Time Traveler for propel

Time Traveler

The first known use of propel was in 1558

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Statistics for propel

Last Updated

30 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Propel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for propel


How to pronounce propel (audio)

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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