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90s Slang You Should Know


[floh] /floʊ/
Also called ice floe. a sheet of floating ice, chiefly on the surface of the sea, smaller than an ice field.
a detached floating portion of such a sheet.
Origin of floe
1810-20; perhaps < Norwegian flo layer (compare Old Norse flō layer, level); cognate with Old English flōh piece, flagstone; cf. flaw1
Can be confused
floe, flow (see synonym study at flow) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for floes
Historical Examples
  • Freezing out on the floes; stewing under their roofs of snow.

    Fast in the Ice R.M. Ballantyne
  • Then I thought to myself, Why should we live always among the floes and bergs?

    The Walrus Hunters R.M. Ballantyne
  • At least nine-tenths of the surface of the polar sea between Cape Columbia and the Pole is made up of these floes.

    The North Pole Robert E. Peary
  • Out on the floes was an exposed place—to vision as well as to wind and drift.

    The Walrus Hunters R.M. Ballantyne
  • All day these floes, often crowded to their utmost capacity, would float past the rookery.

    Antarctic Penguins George Murray Levick
  • “Take care, Massan,” said Mr Stanley, on approaching one of these floes.

    Ungava R.M. Ballantyne
  • The two floes began to move laterally, exerting great pressure on the ship.

    South! Sir Ernest Shackleton
  • The land-ice is impassable, but the floes out on the sea seem still to be fast.

    Red Rooney R.M. Ballantyne
  • Pack-ice is “close” or “tight” if the floes constituting it are in contact; “open” if, for the most part, they do not touch.

    South! Sir Ernest Shackleton
  • It was foul weather all the way from St. John's to the floes.

    Billy Topsail, M.D. Norman Duncan
British Dictionary definitions for floes


See ice floe
Word Origin
C19: probably from Norwegian flo slab, layer, from Old Norse; see flaw1
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 floes



1817, first used by Arctic explorers, probably from Norwegian flo "layer, slab," from Old Norse flo, related to first element in flagstone (q.v.). Earlier explorers used flake.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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floes in Science
A mass or sheet of floating ice.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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