Propeller Head

What Does Propeller Head Mean?

Propeller head is an urban slang term for someone who is exceptionally knowledgeable, especially in a technical field. This slang has become synonymous with computer geek or techno-geek. Propeller head was first used in 1982, and is still used in technology development companies and organizations. The term was taken from cartoon characters of techie fans who happen to wear a child’s beanie cap with a propeller sticking out at the top of it.


A propelller head may also be called a prophead.

Techopedia Explains Propeller Head

The propeller beanie cap became a self-parody of science fiction fans with regards to their out-of-this-world imaginations. It was made popular by an American science fiction author and cartoonist, Radell Faraday Ray Nelson. He claimed to be the creator of the propeller beanie as an insignia of science fiction fanatics. He is also the creator of the Beany character who wears the propeller cap, and who first appeared in a submission to a 1948 cartoon contest.

In mainstream use, the term propeller head or prophead could refer to developers, programmers and other technically savvy people.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.