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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The office of the editor was in Washington street, where propeller now keeps.

  • Much of the efficiency of the motor is due to the form and gearing of the propeller.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • Our boat was subsequently rescued from the shore, and we were able to screw on a new blade to the propeller.

    A Labrador Doctor Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
  • The propeller has four blades which are but little wider than a lath.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • The other has the propeller in the rear, and that is the pusher type.

    Tom Swift and his Air Scout Victor Appleton
  • The propeller and propeller strut will be noticed in this illustration.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats Raymond Francis Yates
  • This propeller took the place of the usual vertical and horizontal rudders.

  • If that propeller had stopped he would have gone through the boat as if it had been paper.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • In mid-ocean, the ship's propeller broke, and she completed the voyage under sail.

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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