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propellant

[pruh-pel-uh nt]
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noun
  1. a propelling agent.
  2. the charge of explosive used to propel the projectile from a gun.
  3. a substance, usually a mixture of fuel and oxidizer, for propelling a rocket.
  4. a compressed inert gas that serves to dispense the contents of an aerosol container when the pressure is released.
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Origin of propellant

First recorded in 1915–20; propel + -ant
Related formsmul·ti·pro·pel·lant, noun
Can be confusedpropellant propellent
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for propellant

Historical Examples

  • Some jerk has redesigned the primer so that the flame misses the propellant!

    Hanging by a Thread

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • Its final fall was due to the introduction of gunpowder as a propellant.

  • The suit had been torn in the fall, and some propellant had gotten in through the rents.

    The Scarlet Lake Mystery

    Harold Leland Goodwin

  • The propellant was taking the rocket almost out of sight when the fuse fired it.

    Cue for Quiet

    Thomas L. Sherred

  • Compressed air was the propellant for the Zalinski dynamite gun.


British Dictionary definitions for propellant

propellant

propellent

noun
  1. something that provides or causes propulsion, such as the explosive charge in a gun or the fuel in a rocket
  2. the gas used to carry the liquid droplets in an aerosol spray
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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 propellant

n.

less-etymological, but more usual, spelling of propellent; 1881 as a firearm explosive; 1919 as "fuel for a rocket engine."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper