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[pruh-pel-er] /prəˈpɛl ər/
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
1770-80; propel + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for propeller
  • Some gliders can launch themselves with a retractable propeller turned by a small combustion engine.
  • Unlike the blades on old-fashioned propeller engines, these blades spin around at the back of the engine.
  • It uses a rotary device which in turn rotates a propeller to move.
  • The stress level in practice is obviously different from the for-real pressure of a propeller actually coming off.
  • Their significant discovery was the propeller part that was used in the torpedo.
  • The small combustion engine uses an electric generator and a super-powered electric motor to drive the propeller.
  • The company makes everything from fighter jets to small turbine-powered propeller airliners.
  • When a pilot reduces power for descent, the windmilling propeller is used to recharge the battery pack for the next flight.
  • He lunges for a towel and staggers into the hallway as the ship's windmill-sized propeller spins out of the water.
  • Remotely piloted, propeller-driven airplanes, they could easily be heard as they circled overhead for hours.
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
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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
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propeller in Science
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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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