[pruh-puhl-shuh n]


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 formspro·pul·sive [pruh-puhl-siv] /prəˈpʌl sɪv/, pro·pul·so·ry, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for propulsive

Historical Examples of propulsive

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


    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

British Dictionary definitions for propulsive



the act of propelling or the state of being propelled
a propelling force
Derived Formspropulsive (prəˈpʌlsɪv) or propulsory, adjective

Word Origin for propulsion

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

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

propulsive in Medicine




A driving or propelling force.
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.