- the flow or the speed in knots of an ocean current.
- the distance between the end of a rope and the part in use.
- the distance between two blocks in a tackle.
- the difference in diameter between two parts, one of which fits within the other, as a mast and its mast hoops, or a treenail and its hole.
- a gradual change in some operating characteristic of a circuit, tube, or other electronic device, either during a brief period as an effect of warming up or during a long period as an effect of continued use.
- the movement of charge carriers in a semiconductor due to the influence of an applied voltage.
verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
- to enlarge (a punched or drilled hole) with a drift.
- to align or straighten (holes, especially rivet holes) with a drift.
- drift anchor,
- drift angle,
- drift ice,
- drift indicator,
- drift lead
Origin of drift
Examples from the Web for drift
Things can drift over time and you can find yourself very far away from shore when you thought you were quite close to the beach.Michael Sheen’s Masterful Study of Sex and Insecurity|Caryn James|September 28, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The mother continues to row frantically, but the boat begins to drift slowly downstream.Whatever You Do Someone Will Die. A Short Story About Impossible Choices in Iraq|Nathan Bradley Bethea|August 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Everyone will laugh, the word “nerd” will be used affectionately, and the conversation will drift on.
They, quite predictably, fall in love, and then drift apart.Life After ‘SVU’: Christopher Meloni on ‘They Came Together,’ Stabler, and His Famous Behind|Marlow Stern|June 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Now there was a way to obtain old music that the record companies had allowed to drift out of print.15 Years After Napster: How the Music Service Changed the Industry|Alex Suskind|June 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST
We can drift like other animals, and often do; but we can also obey our own volition.Life and Matter|Oliver Lodge
At the Sarcophagus, things which had all been wet enough before became saturated with drift which turned to ice.The Home of the Blizzard|Douglas Mawson
But the drift of public opinion was too strong to be withstood.History of the English People, Volume VI (of 8)|John Richard Green
This glory in turn dulled and the leaves, like petals of withered flowers, began to drift to the earth.Erskine Dale--Pioneer|John Fox
Then they may drift slowly into a state of mental weakness, and often require as much care as imbeciles.Epilepsy, Hysteria, and Neurasthenia|Isaac G. Briggs
verb (mainly intr)
Word Origin for drift
c.1300, literally "a being driven" (of snow, etc.); not recorded in Old English; either a suffixed form of drive (v.) (cf. thrift/thrive) or borrowed from Old Norse drift "snow drift," or Middle Dutch drift "pasturage, drove, flock," both from Proto-Germanic *driftiz (cf. Danish and Swedish drift, German Trift), from PIE root *dhreibh- "to drive, push" (see drive (v.)). Sense of "what one is getting at" is from 1520s. Meaning "controlled slide of a sports car" attested by 1955.
late 16c., from drift (n.). Figurative sense of "be passive and listless" is from 1822. Related: Drifted; drifting.
see get the drift.