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[pruh-puhl-shuh n] /prəˈpʌl ʃən/
the act or process of propelling.
the state of being propelled.
a means of propelling; propelling force, impulse, etc.
Origin of propulsion
1605-15; < Latin prōpuls(us) (past participle of prōpellere to propel) + -ion
Related forms
[pruh-puhl-siv] /prəˈpʌl sɪv/ (Show IPA),
propulsory, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for propulsive
Historical Examples
  • The words burst from him with the propulsive energy of total amazement.

    Little Miss Grouch Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • In both the machines that we have considered the propulsive power was a screw.

    The Romance of Modern Invention Archibald Williams
  • The chief thing is whether they are propulsive forces in the destiny of his puppets.

    Unicorns James Huneker
  • The highest degree of human depravity, which is to be found in this propulsive will power, or Animal Magnetism.

    The Religio-Medical Masquerade Frederick William Peabody
  • propulsive power depends upon the amount of air displaced, and the energy put into the thrust which displaces the air.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • It becomes more than a support, it becomes a kind of propulsive force applied to the action at the start.

    The Craft of Fiction

    Percy Lubbock
  • You can't tell from the crater what kind of propulsive device these characters are using.

    Project Hush Philip Klass
  • The propulsive force of an idea in his own mind depended wholly upon its appeal to his practical judgment.

    Stephen A. Douglas Allen Johnson
  • In either case there will be a jar to the vehicle and a loss of propulsive power.

    The Romance of Modern Mechanism Archibald Williams
  • Both these competitors flew the Farman biplane with the 50 horse-power Gnome motor as propulsive power.

    A History of Aeronautics E. Charles Vivian
British Dictionary definitions for propulsive


the act of propelling or the state of being propelled
a propelling force
Derived Forms
propulsive (prəˈpʌlsɪv), propulsory, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Latin prōpellere to propel
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
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Word Origin and History for propulsive

1640s, from propuls-, past participle stem of Latin propellere "to propel" (see propel) + -ive.



1610s, "expulsion," noun of action formed from propuls-, past participle stem of Latin propellere "to propel" (see propel). Meaning "act of driving forward, propulsive force" first attested 1799.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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propulsive in Medicine

propulsion pro·pul·sion (prə-pŭl'shən)

  1. A driving or propelling force.

  2. The leaning or falling forward characteristic of the festination of parkinsonism.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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