a propelling agent.
the charge of explosive used to propel the projectile from a gun.
a substance, usually a mixture of fuel and oxidizer, for propelling a rocket.
a compressed inert gas that serves to dispense the contents of an aerosol container when the pressure is released.

1915–20; propel + -ant

multipropellant, noun

propellant, propellent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
propellant or propellent (prəˈpɛlənt)
1.  something that provides or causes propulsion, such as the explosive charge in a gun or the fuel in a rocket
2.  the gas used to carry the liquid droplets in an aerosol spray
propellent or propellent

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica


any gas, liquid, or solid the expansion of which can be used to impart motion to another substance or object. In aerosol dispensers, compressed gases such as nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and many halogenated hydrocarbons are used as propellants. The propellant may remain in gaseous form (nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide), or it may liquefy under pressure. Food products, such as artificial whipped cream, are propelled by nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide; nonfood products, such as cosmetics, insecticides, paints, and pharmaceuticals, formerly were dispensed with the aid of fluorinated hydrocarbons. Because of the threat believed to be posed to the Earth's ozone layer by halogenated propellants, they have been banned in many countries except for essential uses such as some drugs, pesticides, lubricants, and cleaners for electrical or electronic equipment. (See also aerosol container.)

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The expanding hydrogen gas spewed out of a cone-shaped propellant tank.
He even tried to launch the hollow aluminium arm of a chair, stuffed with propellant, into orbit.
Design filler tanks so that propellant can be refueled with robot rockets to keep the thrusters fueled.
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