- 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.
Origin of drift
Synonyms for drift
Related Words for drifttendency, progression, hover, stray, linger, dance, flit, ride, float, flow, waft, flutter, wash, slide, sail, meander, amble, wander, stroll, mountain
Examples from the Web for drift
Contemporary Examples of 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
September 28, 2014
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
Everyone will laugh, the word “nerd” will be used affectionately, and the conversation will drift on.Self-Tracking for N00bz
Jamie Todd Rubin
July 24, 2014
They, quite predictably, fall in love, and then drift apart.Life After ‘SVU’: Christopher Meloni on ‘They Came Together,’ Stabler, and His Famous Behind
June 21, 2014
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
June 6, 2014
Historical Examples of drift
As they walked single-file through the narrowing of a drift, she wondered about him.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
If we permit our economy to drift and decline, the vulnerable will suffer most.
I was now ashore, with two or three months of drift before me.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
They were, however, superior to the drift men, and had some notion of art.English Villages
P. H. Ditchfield
But what her eyes met caused the color to drift from her face.Gloria and Treeless Street
Annie Hamilton Donnell
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.