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 formshalf-a·float, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for afloat

adrift, drifting

Examples from the Web for afloat

Contemporary Examples of afloat

Historical Examples of afloat

  • 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 never was more completely adrift, in my life, ashore or afloat.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for afloat


adjective, adverb (postpositive)

aboard ship; at sea
covered with water; flooded
aimlessly driftingafloat in a sea of indecision
in circulation; afootnasty 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

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