- to drive, or cause to move, forward or onward: to propel a boat by rowing.
- to impel or urge onward: Urgent need of money propelled him to take a job.
Origin of propel
1400–50; late Middle English propellen to expel < Latin prōpellere to drive forward, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + pellere to drive
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1, 2. push, prod.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for propel
Barack Obama used the Internet and social media to propel himself to the presidency.FDR: King of All Media
September 2, 2014
Typically, the power used to propel the water is derived from steam heat, which is turn generated by burning natural gas.Renewables Can Make Fossil Fuel More Efficient
The Daily Beast
May 29, 2014
But for a Hyperserial to truly be successful, you need a compelling question to propel the show forward.Why Should You Watch 'Orphan Black'? Tatiana Maslany.
April 19, 2014
And they usually pose a clear question designed to propel the story forward.Mad Men’s Dramatic Déjà Vu: ‘Time Zones’ Feels Redundant
April 14, 2014
These twin forces stand to propel the former Secretary of State and First Lady back into the White House.Republicans Better Mind the Modernity Gap To Catch Up to Clinton
March 3, 2014
Poles are used to this day to propel the crafts on the Euphrates.The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria
This is said of a steam-engine if reversed, to propel the vessel astern.The Sailor's Word-Book
William Henry Smyth
To propel the cycle the chain-ring is turned in a clockwise direction.How it Works
It occurred to him presently that he could steer as well as propel his float with his feet.The Border Watch
Joseph A. Altsheler
Her great weight seemeth to propel her forward, ostrich-fashion.The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb
- (tr) to impel, drive, or cause to move forwards
C15: from Latin prōpellere to drive onwards, from pro- 1 + pellere to drive
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for propel
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper