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[waft, wahft] /wæft, wɑft/
verb (used with object)
to carry lightly and smoothly through the air or over water:
The gentle breeze wafted the sound of music to our ears.
to send or convey lightly, as if in flight:
The actress wafted kisses to her admirers in the audience.
Obsolete. to signal to, summon, or direct by waving.
verb (used without object)
to float or be carried, especially through the air:
The sound wafted on the breeze. The music wafted across the lake.
a sound, odor, etc., faintly perceived:
a waft of perfume.
a wafting movement; light current or gust:
a waft of air.
the act of wafting.
Also, waif. Nautical. a signal given by waving a flag.
Origin of waft
late Middle English
1535-45; back formation from late Middle English waughter armed escort vessel < Dutch or Low German wachter watchman; in some senses confused with waff
Related forms
wafter, noun
unwafted, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for wafting
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Sit down," she said, wafting herself into a chair, and he obeyed her.

    Questionable Shapes William Dean Howells
  • I pictured my last vision of her upon the hill, wafting me a farewell.

    The Sequel George A. Taylor
  • That his return was heralded by wafting breezes with whisky laden.

    The Job Sinclair Lewis
  • Other hands were on him, wafting him up the stairs as though riding a gale.

    Stover at Yale Owen Johnson
  • A wafting of the spring smells came in at his back, and he stood with his bonnet in his hand.

    The Lost Pibroch Neil Munro
  • The winds and waves are wafting thousands to the land of refuge.

    Spencer's Letters Orson Spencer
British Dictionary definitions for wafting


/wɑːft; wɒft/
to carry or be carried gently on or as if on the air or water
the act or an instance of wafting
something, such as a scent, carried on the air
a wafting motion
(nautical) Also called waif. (formerly) a signal flag hoisted furled to signify various messages depending on where it was flown
Derived Forms
waftage, noun
Word Origin
C16 (in obsolete sense: to convey by ship): back formation from C15 wafter a convoy vessel, from Middle Dutch wachter guard, from wachten to guard; influenced by waff
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 wafting



1510s, "to carry over water," back-formation from obsolete wafter "convoy ship" (late 15c.), from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German wachter "a guard," from wachten "to guard," related to waken "rouse from sleep" (see wake (n.1)). The meaning "pass through air or space, float" is first attested 1704, and possibly shows some influence of northern dialect waff "cause to move to and fro" (1510s), a variant of wave. Related: Wafted; wafting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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