- 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 driftinghover, stray, linger, dance, flit, ride, float, flow, waft, flutter, wash, slide, sail, meander, amble, wander, stroll, amass, aim, flicker
Examples from the Web for drifting
Contemporary Examples of drifting
Strong currents and winds, however, mean any debris could be drifting up to 31 miles a day eastward, away from the impact zone.Wreckage, Bodies of AirAsia Crash Found
December 30, 2014
It may also have left them somewhat untethered, drifting in between their own lives and the eternal mysteries.Sor Juana: Mexico’s Most Erotic Poet and Its Most Dangerous Nun
November 8, 2014
I think I would be a drifting pixel in the online dating world right now.Patton Oswalt Sounds Off On Stand-Up’s Critics and Why Comedians Should Win Oscars
December 27, 2013
But the positions are drifting apart—and each has its costs and benefits.We’re Here, We’re Pro-Israel/Pro-Peace, We’re Used to It. Now What?
September 30, 2013
The air all around them was filled with a storm of leaves, billowing and drifting and soaring in the gusts.Benjamin Franklin, America’s First Storm Chaser
April 14, 2013
Historical Examples of drifting
On the instant, he threw off his coat and sprang far out after the drifting body.Within the Law
I now knew we were at sea, and were drifting directly off the coast.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
The night was hot and dark, moon and stars obscured by drifting clouds.The Rock of Chickamauga
Joseph A. Altsheler
Our aero was drifting downward and southward in the slight wind.
He had drifted so long that, somehow, he supposed he must go on drifting.People of Position
Stanley Portal Hyatt
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.