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paddle wheel

a wheel for propelling a ship, having a number of paddles entering the water more or less perpendicularly.
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paddle-wheel, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for paddle-wheel

paddle wheel

a large wheel fitted with paddles, turned by an engine to propel a vessel on the water
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for paddle-wheel

also paddlewheel, 1805, from paddle (n.) + wheel (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for paddle-wheel

paddle wheel

method of ship propulsion that was once widely employed but is now almost entirely superseded by the screw propeller. Early experiments with steam-driven paddles acting as oars led several inventors, including Robert Fulton, to mount the paddles in a wheel form, either at the stern or at the sides of the vessel.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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