The act of moving something forward is called propulsion. Propulsion is the force that pushes a rocket into space, that sends a football spiraling toward a receiver's hands, and that moves a strongly kicking swimmer through the water.

The noun propulsion came from the Latin prōpellere, "to push away." The modern meaning of propulsion meaning "the act of moving forward" was first recorded in 1799. In water, flippers, fins, and the wind can aid propulsion. In a general sense, if society is to move forward, we must stop using fossil fuels as our main means of propulsion.

Definitions of propulsion
  1. noun
    the act of propelling
    synonyms: actuation
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    launch, launching
    the act of propelling with force
    the act of moving a newly built vessel into the water for the first time
    drive, driving force, thrust
    the act of applying force to propel something
    bowl, roll
    the act of rolling something (as the ball in bowling)
    the act of throwing (propelling something with a rapid movement of the arm and wrist)
    push, pushing
    the act of applying force in order to move something away
    pull, pulling
    the act of pulling; applying force to move something toward or with you
    heave, lift, raise
    the act of raising something
    ejection, expulsion, forcing out, projection
    the act of expelling or projecting or ejecting
    jump, jumping
    the act of jumping; propelling yourself off the ground
    the act of propelling something (as a ball or shell etc.) in a high arc
    rolling, wheeling
    propelling something on wheels
    shooting, shot
    the act of firing a projectile
    dribble, dribbling
    the propulsion of a ball by repeated taps or kicks
    rocket firing, rocket launching
    the launching of a rocket or missile under its own power
    (colloquial) the application of maximum thrust
    impetus, impulse, impulsion
    the act of applying force suddenly
    (cricket) the act of delivering a cricket ball to the batsman
    the act of flinging
    heave, heaving
    throwing something heavy (with great effort)
    cast, hurl
    a violent throw
    (horseshoes) the throw of a horseshoe so as to lean against (but not encircle) the stake
    flip, pass, toss
    (sports) the act of throwing the ball to another member of your team
    the action or manner of throwing something
    delivery, pitch
    (baseball) the act of throwing a baseball by a pitcher to a batter
    (horseshoes) the successful throw of a horseshoe or quoit so as to encircle a stake or peg
    a quick throw
    throwing with a wide motion (as if with a sling)
    (rugby) an act or instance of throwing a ball in to put it into play
    pushing down
    jog, nudge
    a slight push or shake
    press, pressing, pressure
    the act of pressing; the exertion of pressure
    the act of shoving (giving a push to someone or something)
    the act of dragging (pulling with force)
    draw, haul, haulage
    the act of drawing or hauling something
    jerk, tug, yank
    a sudden abrupt pull
    draft, draught, drawing
    the act of moving a load by drawing or pulling
    deracination, excision, extirpation
    the act of pulling up or out; uprooting; cutting off from existence
    the act of pulling and releasing a taut cord
    (orthopedics) the act of pulling on a bone or limb (as in a fracture) to relieve pressure or align parts in a special way during healing
    belch, belching, burp, burping, eructation
    a reflex that expels gas noisily from the stomach through the mouth
    the forceful expulsion of something from inside
    coughing up
    the act of expelling (food or phlegm) by coughing
    expectoration, spit, spitting
    the act of spitting (forcefully expelling saliva)
    disgorgement, emesis, regurgitation, vomit, vomiting
    the reflex act of ejecting the contents of the stomach through the mouth
    a headlong jump (or fall)
    the act of hopping; jumping upward or forward (especially on one foot)
    bounce, bound, leap, leaping, saltation, spring
    a light, self-propelled movement upwards or forwards
    hurdle, vault
    the act of jumping over an obstacle
    jumping up and down
    jumping in one spot (as in excitement)
    the act of shooting at targets
    a return shot; a retaliatory shot
    discharge, firing, firing off
    the act of discharging a gun
    gunfire, gunshot
    the act of shooting a gun
    a shot aimed at a person's head
    shooting artillery shells
    a shot taken at an easy or casual target (as by a pothunter)
    double dribble
    an illegal dribble in basketball (the player uses both hands to dribble or the player starts to dribble a second time after coming to a stop)
    (dressage) a vertical jump of a trained horse with a kick of the hind legs at the top of the jump
    the act of giving a push
    a sudden, quick movement
    type of:
    act, deed, human action, human activity
    something that people do or cause to happen
  2. noun
    a propelling force
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    nuclear propulsion
    the use of a nuclear reactor either to produce electricity to power an engine (as in a nuclear submarine) or to directly heat a propellant (as in nuclear rockets)
    reaction propulsion
    propulsion that results from the ejection at high velocity of a mass of gas to which the vehicle reacts with an equal and opposite momentum
    jet propulsion
    propulsion by means of the discharge of a jet of fluid toward the rear
    rocket propulsion
    reaction propulsion using stored oxygen for combustion; used where there is insufficient atmospheric oxygen
    type of:
    (physics) the influence that produces a change in a physical quantity
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