a device having a revolving hub with radiating blades, for propelling an airplane, ship, etc.
a person or thing that propels.
the bladed rotor of a pump that drives the fluid axially.
a wind-driven, usually three-bladed, device that provides mechanical energy, as for driving an electric alternator in wind plants.

Origin of propeller

First recorded in 1770–80; propel + -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for propeller

Contemporary Examples of propeller

  • Children have fantasy lives so rich and combustible that rigging them with lies is like putting a propeller on a rocket.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why Jimmy Kimmel’s Lies Matter

    Sam Harris

    November 19, 2013

Historical Examples of propeller

  • Finding that the propeller would now work, Captain Williamson gave orders for full speed astern.

    First at the North Pole

    Edward Stratemeyer

  • The water about the craft was very muddy and thick now, caused by the propeller stirring up the bottom of the river.

  • Angle of Incidence, Rigger's—The angle the chord of a surface makes with a line parallel to the axis of the propeller.

  • The surface vessel has a propeller in her skeg operating athwartship in addition to the usual stem propeller.

  • The propeller churned the water, and the painter strained as the boat moved forward.

British Dictionary definitions for propeller



a device having blades radiating from a central hub that is rotated to produce thrust to propel a ship, aircraft, etc
a person or thing that propels
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 propeller

1780, "anything that propels," agent noun from propel. In mechanical sense, 1809, of ships; of flying machines (in a broad, theoretical sense) 1842, in the specific modern sense 1853.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for propeller



A device consisting of a set of two or more twisted, airfoil-shaped blades mounted around a shaft and spun to provide propulsion of a vehicle through water or air, or to cause fluid flow, as in a pump. The lift generated by the spinning blades provides the force that propels the vehicle or the fluid-the lift does not have to result in an actual upward force; its direction is simply parallel to the rotating shaft.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.