Nearby words

  1. driegh,
  2. drier,
  3. dries,
  4. driesch,
  5. driest,
  6. drift anchor,
  7. drift angle,
  8. drift ice,
  9. drift indicator,
  10. drift lead

Origin of drift

1250–1300; Middle English drift, noun derivative of Old English drīfan to drive; cognate with Dutch drift “herd, flock,” German Trift “herd, pasturage, road to pasture”

Related formsdrift·ing·ly, adverbdrift·less, adjectivedrift·less·ness, nounun·drift·ing, adjective

Synonym study

7. See tendency. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for drift

British Dictionary definitions for drift


/ (drɪft) /

verb (mainly intr)


Derived Formsdrifty, adjective

Word Origin for drift

C13: from Old Norse: snowdrift; related to Old High German trift pasturage

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 drift
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for drift


[ drĭft ]


A gradual deviation from an original course, model, method, or intention.
Movement of teeth from their normal position in the dental arch because of the loss of contiguous teeth.
genetic drift
A variation or random oscillation about a fixed setting, position, or mode of behavior.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with drift


see get the drift.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.