- 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.
- Also called driftpin. a round, tapering piece of steel for enlarging holes in metal, or for bringing holes in line to receive rivets or bolts.
- a flat, tapered piece of steel used to drive tools with tapered shanks, as drill bits, from their holders.
- to enlarge (a punched or drilled hole) with a drift.
- to align or straighten (holes, especially rivet holes) with a drift.
OTHER WORDS FOR drift
Origin of drift
synonym study for drift
OTHER WORDS FROM driftdrift·ing·ly, adverbdriftless, adjectivedrift·less·ness, nounun·drift·ing, adjective
Words nearby drift
MORE ABOUT DRIFT
What does drift mean?
To drift is to be carried along by water or air currents, the way a rubber duck might drift around in a tub.
To drift is also to carry something along, as an air current drifts dead leaves through the air.
This force of motion is also called a drift, as in The ocean drift carried my boogie board out to sea!
Related to this, drift can also mean to wander aimlessly. This sense can be used literally, as when you walk around a theme park with no specific destination in mind. It can also be used figuratively, as when you’re telling a friend a story about your cat and you drift into an unrelated story about your favorite video game. When we’re falling asleep slowly, we sometimes say we’re drifting off to sleep.
Drift can also refer to a purpose or meaning. As your science teacher explains a new concept, you might understand a little of it, getting the drift of it, but not yet understand all of what they’re talking about.
Example: We saw an empty raft drifting down the river.
Where does drift come from?
The first records of the term drift come from the late 1200s. It ultimately comes from the Old English drīfan meaning “to drive.” Drift might be called “a driving force” because it moves things forward.
Drift is closely related to nautical travel and the waters. In boat travel, for example, drift refers to the movement of a ship, its speed, the distance of a rope, the distance of cargo, and measurements of the ship itself. This is because the currents of the water and the wind cause things to float and drift along the water.
Did you know … ?
What are some other forms related to drift?
- drifter (noun)
- driftingly (adverb)
- driftless (adjective)
- undrifting (adjective)
What are some synonyms for drift?
What are some words that share a root or word element with drift?
What are some words that often get used in discussing drift?
How is drift used in real life?
Drift is a common word with many senses, all of which relate to something moving slowly or gently.
How'd we drift so far away
— michael clifford on tour (@Michael5SOS) April 5, 2015
Sea otters hold hands while sleeping so they don't drift away from each other.
— UberFacts (@UberFacts) May 1, 2012
when people get shaky during their speeches i just want to drift up to them like a ghost and gently hug them so they know it's okay
— Daniel Howell (@danielhowell) March 3, 2014
Try using drift!
Which of the following is NOT a synonym for drift?
How to use drift in a sentence
In this view, play is to creativity what genetic drift is to evolution and what heat is to self-assembling molecules.Why It Pays to Play Around - Issue 94: Evolving|Andreas Wagner|December 16, 2020|Nautilus
The random rise or fall of gene variants in a population is known as genetic drift.How Neutral Theory Altered Ideas About Biodiversity|Christie Wilcox|December 8, 2020|Quanta Magazine
A handmade soap booth sent drifts of lavender into the unseasonably warm air.Small Business Saturday spotlights pandemic-inspired entrepreneurship|Emily Davies|November 28, 2020|Washington Post
To make matters worse, ankle monitors are prone to technical glitches such as signal loss and drift, prohibitively short battery life, and inaccurate alerts sent to monitoring agencies.Covid-19 has led to a worrisome uptick in the use of electronic ankle monitors|Amy Nordrum|October 8, 2020|MIT Technology Review
Conditions in Oregon are unprecedented, with fire and smoke drift threatening every wine-producing region in the state, according to the Oregon Wine Board.Wildfires, trade wars, COVID-19: The 2020 global wine harvest may go down as the most challenging yet|Bernhard Warner|September 20, 2020|Fortune
Is he the type of character who would ever join the group permanently, or is he more of a drift-in, drift-out kind of guy?‘Walking Dead’ Showrunner Scott Gimple Teases ‘Darker, Weirder’ Times Ahead|Melissa Leon|December 2, 2014|DAILY BEAST
After years of strategic drift, the U.S. military may finally have a path to maintain its edge over countries like China.The Pentagon May Finally Have a Plan to Keep America on Top|Bill Sweetman|November 3, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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.Self-Tracking for N00bz|Jamie Todd Rubin|July 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST
They stopped, leaning over a jagged fence made of sea-drift, to ask for water.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories|Kate Chopin
Quite a number of sandeaters, as time passed, seemed to drift in and out of the back room.Fee of the Frontier|Horace Brown Fyfe
For all that Marius had no Italian he understood the drift of the words, assisted as they were by the man's expressive gesture.St. Martin's Summer|Rafael Sabatini
And they will jump into the air from the verge of high banks, and land on the drift at the bottom with perfect balance.The Girls of Central High on the Stage|Gertrude W. Morrison
Their effect is, however, probably small as compared with that massive drift which we have now to note.Outlines of the Earth's History|Nathaniel Southgate Shaler
British Dictionary definitions for drift
Derived forms of driftdrifty, adjective
Word Origin for drift
Other Idioms and Phrases with drift
see get the drift.