See more synonyms for afloat on
adverb, adjective
  1. floating or borne on the water; in a floating condition: The ship was set afloat.
  2. on board a ship, boat, raft, etc.; at sea: cargo afloat and ashore.
  3. covered with water; flooded; awash: The main deck was afloat.
  4. moving without being guided or controlled; drifting.
  5. passing from place to place; in circulation: A rumor is afloat.
  6. 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. 2018

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)
  1. floating
  2. aboard ship; at sea
  3. covered with water; flooded
  4. aimlessly driftingafloat in a sea of indecision
  5. in circulation; afootnasty rumours were afloat
  6. 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