SKIP TO CONTENT

propel

To propel is to push or drive forward, like a sheep dog nipping at the heels of his flock to keep them moving.

When you hear the verb propel, imagine the propeller on an airplane — that spinning thing on the front that pulls the plane forward. Or maybe think of the old proverb that goes, “Our passions are the winds that propel our vessel. Our reason is the pilot that steers her. Without winds the vessel would not move and without a pilot she would be lost.”

Definitions of propel
  1. verb
    cause to move forward with force
    “Steam propels this ship”
    synonyms: impel
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 83 types...
    hide 83 types...
    flip
    move with a flick or light motion
    rocket
    propel with a rocket
    carry
    propel or give impetus to
    kick
    drive or propel with the foot
    pole, punt
    propel with a pole
    hit
    cause to move by striking
    throw
    propel through the air
    drive
    push, propel, or press with force
    launch
    propel with force
    catapult
    shoot forth or launch, as if from a catapult
    project, send off
    throw, send, or cast forward
    loft
    propel through the air
    play
    shoot or hit in a particular manner
    foul
    hit a foul ball
    cannon
    make a cannon
    clap
    strike together so as to produce a sharp percussive noise
    flap down, slam
    throw violently
    drop-kick, dropkick
    drop and kick (a ball) as it touches the ground, as for a field goal
    place-kick
    kick (a ball) from a stationary position, in football
    drop-kick, dropkick
    make the point after a touchdown with a dropkick
    punt
    kick the ball
    ground out
    make an out by hitting the ball on the ground
    toe
    drive (a golf ball) with the toe of the club
    shank
    hit (a golf ball) with the heel of a club, causing the ball to veer in the wrong direction
    pitch
    hit (a golf ball) in a high arc with a backspin
    fly
    hit a fly
    snap
    put in play with a snap
    whang
    propel or hit with force
    undercut
    strike (the ball) in golf, tennis, or hockey obliquely downward so as to give a backspin or elevation to the shot
    putt
    strike (a golf ball) lightly, with a putter
    heel
    strike with the heel of the club
    toe
    hit (a golf ball) with the toe of the club
    bunker
    hit a golf ball into a bunker
    bounce
    hit something so that it bounces
    backhand
    hit a tennis ball backhand
    pop
    hit a pop-fly
    follow through
    carry a stroke to natural completion after hitting or releasing a ball
    shell
    hit the pitches of hard and regularly
    ground
    hit onto the ground
    ground
    hit a groundball
    ground
    throw to the ground in order to stop play and avoid being tackled behind the line of scrimmage
    top
    strike (the top part of a ball in golf, baseball, or pool) giving it a forward spin
    pull
    hit in the direction that the player is facing when carrying through the swing
    kill
    hit with great force
    kill
    hit with so much force as to make a return impossible, in racket games
    connect
    hit or play a ball successfully
    drive
    hit very hard, as by swinging a bat horizontally
    drive
    strike with a driver, as in teeing off
    hole, hole out
    hit the ball into the hole
    bunt, drag a bunt
    hit a ball in such a way so as to make it go a short distance
    snick
    hit a glancing blow with the edge of the bat
    racket
    hit (a ball) with a racket
    carry, dribble
    propel, "Carry the ball"
    slice
    hit a ball and put a spin on it so that it travels in a different direction
    hook
    hit a ball and put a spin on it so that it travels to the left
    single
    hit a single
    double
    hit a two-base hit
    triple
    hit a three-base hit
    prostrate
    throw down flat, as on the ground
    cast, hurl, hurtle
    throw forcefully
    heave
    throw with great effort
    bombard, pelt
    cast, hurl, or throw repeatedly with some missile
    defenestrate
    throw through or out of a window
    deliver, pitch
    throw or hurl from the mound to the batter, as in baseball
    shy
    throw quickly
    drive
    cause to move rapidly by striking or throwing with force
    deep-six, throw overboard
    throw from a boat
    ridge
    throw soil toward (a crop row) from both sides
    jettison
    throw as from an airplane
    fling
    throw with force or recklessness
    lob
    propel in a high arc
    chuck, toss
    throw carelessly
    float
    put into the water
    blast off
    launch with great force
    skim, skip, skitter
    cause to skip over a surface
    smash
    hit (a tennis ball) in a powerful overhead stroke
    shoot
    throw or propel in a specific direction or towards a specific objective
    volley
    hit before it touches the ground
    croquet
    drive away by hitting with one's ball, "croquet the opponent's ball"
    loft
    kick or strike high in the air
    juggle
    throw, catch, and keep in the air several things simultaneously
    flick, flip
    cause to move with a flick
    pass
    throw (a ball) to another player
    type of:
    displace, move
    cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense
  2. verb
    give an incentive for action
    synonyms: actuate, incentivize, incite, motivate, move, prompt
    affect, impress, move, strike
    have an emotional or cognitive impact upon
    move
    arouse sympathy or compassion in
    see moresee less
    type of:
    cause, do, make
    give rise to; cause to happen or occur, not always intentionally
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week