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[uh-floht] /əˈfloʊt/
adverb, adjective
floating or borne on the water; in a floating condition:
The ship was set afloat.
on board a ship, boat, raft, etc.; at sea:
cargo afloat and ashore.
covered with water; flooded; awash:
The main deck was afloat.
moving without being guided or controlled; drifting.
passing from place to place; in circulation:
A rumor is afloat.
free of major trouble, especially financially solvent:
to keep a venture afloat.
Origin of afloat
before 1000; Middle English, Old English on flote. See a-1, float
Related forms
half-afloat, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for afloat
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A thousand schemes were afloat in his mind about the future, of the most improbable kind.

    Life in London Edwin Hodder
  • How it had got afloat upon the sea, is more than I can tell you.

    The Three Golden Apples Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • He had been sea-sick, but she had seemed unaware of the fact that she was afloat on a rough sea.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • I could not swim a stroke, and it crossed my mind to get one of the sweeps to keep me afloat.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • I never was more completely adrift, in my life, ashore or afloat.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Pierce senior set it afloat; that is, he and Mark Galloway together.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • From the quiet swaying of the floor beneath me I soon sensed that we were afloat.

    City of Endless Night Milo Hastings
British Dictionary definitions for afloat


adjective, adverb (postpositive)
aboard ship; at sea
covered with water; flooded
aimlessly drifting: afloat in a sea of indecision
in circulation; afoot: nasty rumours were afloat
free of debt; solvent
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 afloat

Old English aflote, on flot, from a- "on" (see a- (1)) + float (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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