pro·​pul·​sion | \ prə-ˈpəl-shən How to pronounce propulsion (audio) \

Definition of propulsion

1 : the action or process of propelling
2 : something that propels

Examples of propulsion in a Sentence

Sailboats use wind as their source of propulsion.

Recent Examples on the Web

The Northern Leader has a 100 percent electrically operated propulsion system and 100 percent LED lighting, allowing it to significantly cut down on energy expenditures. Kelli Bender,, "We Tried it: Tracing a Natural, Sustainable Pet Food to Its Source Out in Alaska's Bering Sea," 25 June 2019 But for flights under a few hundred miles (the distance will grow as batteries improve), electric propulsion is much cheaper: 10 times less expensive for fuel alone, says electric motor maker MagniX. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "The Paris Air Show sold $15 billion in planes. A $4 million electric stole the show," 22 June 2019 The most exciting, Poston says, is using the reactor for something called electric propulsion. John Wenz, Discover Magazine, "NASA's New Nuclear Reactor Could Change Space Exploration," 11 Feb. 2019 What's new is batteries and a 2-megawatt hybrid-electric propulsion system. Charles Riley, CNN, "Electric planes herald new era for aviation at the Paris Air Show," 20 June 2019 The European planemaker has grown confident that the revolutionary propulsion system will be ready for rollout on an all-new single-aisle jet around 2035, according to people with knowledge of its planning. Benjamin Katz,, "Airbus considers making the next version of its top-selling jet an electric hybrid," 14 June 2019 Singapore recently received the first of four advanced German Type 218 submarines with propulsion systems that negate the need to surface more frequently. David Pierson,, "Military spending is soaring in the Asia-Pacific region. Here’s why," 7 June 2019 In late 2016, Tajmar and 25 other physicists gathered in Estes Park, Colorado, for the first conference dedicated to the EmDrive and related exotic propulsion systems. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "A Mythical Form of Space Propulsion Finally Gets a Real Test," 5 June 2019 Toyota is finding customers are more interested in this propulsion system on its standard models, such as the Corolla and Camry sedans and RAV4 and Highlander SUVs. Bloomberg, Twin Cities, "Prius sales are falling, but hybrids are more popular than ever," 3 June 2019

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

1627, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for propulsion

Latin propellere to propel

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Statistics for propulsion

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for propulsion

The first known use of propulsion was in 1627

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More Definitions for propulsion



English Language Learners Definition of propulsion

technical : the force that moves something forward : the force that propels something


pro·​pul·​sion | \ prə-ˈpəl-shən How to pronounce propulsion (audio) \

Kids Definition of propulsion

1 : the act or process of propelling
2 : the force that moves something forward

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More from Merriam-Webster on propulsion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with propulsion

Spanish Central: Translation of propulsion

Nglish: Translation of propulsion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of propulsion for Arabic Speakers

Comments on propulsion

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