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 Starship would then use its own propulsion to get to the Moon. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "NASA is counting on a lot of unproven rockets for its Artemis plan," 1 May 2020 Neural spines Chevrons Muscle Cross section Vertebra 4 Cross section Vertebra 31 The anterior tail is stiffer and more muscular, providing propulsion. National Geographic, "Reconstructing a gigantic aquatic predator," 29 Apr. 2020 At lower speeds, the 129-hp drive motor provides propulsion through a 2.45:1 direct drive. K.c. Colwell, Car and Driver, "Our 2019 Honda Insight Touring Is Memorable, Just Not for Its Looks," 20 Mar. 2020 Each elevator is designed to move twice as many missiles and bombs from below decks to the hangar, using electromagnetic propulsion. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The USS Ford Is Coming Together...Very Slowly," 3 Feb. 2020 The homemade heat-resistant device used to measure propulsion pressure in the experiment. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Wait, Could Plasma Thrusters Really Replace Jet Engines?," 7 May 2020 The warship — cracked in two places — lost power and propulsion, leaving the crew in the dark and a young Lieutenant Gilday, tactical action officer, in charge of defending the ship, according to an account in The Lowell Sun, his hometown newspaper. Eric Schmitt, New York Times, "An Accidental Navy Chief Steers His Service Through a Storm," 1 May 2020 There is wit, levity and propulsion to the episodes, which zip by after the slow opener. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Review: Cate Blanchett and Rose Byrne rule FX's powerful ERA drama 'Mrs. America'," 15 Apr. 2020 The Marshall Space Center in Huntsville, Ala., is the agency's civilian rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center and is the largest center in NASA. Fox News, "Coronavirus pandemic causes NASA to move entire agency to Stage 3," 18 Mar. 2020

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

borrowed from Medieval Latin prōpulsiōn-, prōpulsiō "action of driving out or urging on," derivative, with the suffix of verbal action -tiōn-, -tiō, of Latin propellere "to push or thrust forward, compel to go onward" (with -s- from past participle and verbal noun prōpulsus) — more at propel

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Time Traveler for propulsion

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The first known use of propulsion was in 1627

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Statistics for propulsion

Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Propulsion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for propulsion


How to pronounce propulsion (audio)

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

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