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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for propulsive
Historical Examples
  • 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
  • The words burst from him with the propulsive energy of total amazement.

    Little Miss Grouch Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • If the propulsive action does not pass through the centre of gravity the system again becomes "acentric."

  • The chief thing is whether they are propulsive forces in the destiny of his puppets.

    Unicorns James Huneker
  • The propulsive force given to the Government by the war seemed likely to continue.

    Union and Democracy Allen Johnson
  • 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
  • When we think of such habits, the union of habit with desire and with propulsive power is forced upon us.

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

    Project Hush Philip Klass
  • In either case there will be a jar to the vehicle and a loss of propulsive power.

    The Romance of Modern Mechanism Archibald Williams
  • The propulsive force of an idea in his own mind depended wholly upon its appeal to his practical judgment.

    Stephen A. Douglas Allen Johnson
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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