Navigation. (of a ship) the component of the movement that is due to the force of wind and currents.
Oceanography. a broad, shallow ocean current that advances at the rate of 10 to 15 miles (16 to 24 km) a day.
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.
Aeronautics. the deviation of an aircraft from a set course due to cross winds.
something driven, as animals, rain, etc.
a heap of any matter driven together.
Geology. glacial drift.
the state or process of being driven.
overbearing power or influence.
Military. a tool used in charging an ordnance piece.
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.
Linguistics. gradual change in the structure of a language.
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.
Civil Engineering. a secondary tunnel between two main tunnels or shafts.
Mining. an approximately horizontal passageway in underground mining.
Physics. the movement of charged particles under the influence of an electric field.
Aerospace. the gradual deviation of a rocket or guided missile from its intended trajectory.
Mechanics. displacement of the gimbals of a gyroscope due to friction on bearings, unbalance of the gyroscope's mass or other imperfections.
the thrust of an arched structure.
Dentistry. a shift of the teeth from their normal position in the dental arch.
Western U.S. a flock of animals or birds.
to be carried along by currents of water or air, or by the force of circumstances.
to wander aimlessly: He drifts from town to town.
to be driven into heaps, as by the wind: drifting sand.
to deviate or vary from a set course or adjustment.
to carry along: The current drifted the boat to sea.
to drive into heaps: The wind drifted the snow.
to enlarge (a punched or drilled hole) with a drift.
to align or straighten (holes, especially rivet holes) with a drift.
drift off, to fall asleep gradually.
- drift·ing·ly, adverb
- driftless, adjective
- drift·less·ness, noun
- un·drift·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024
How to use drift in a sentence
Antara’s most significant production is an endless series of portraits of the same face sketched hastily, day after day, month after month, a record of emotional dedication and visual drift.‘Burnt Sugar,’ a challenging Booker Prize finalist, is hard to take, but harder to shake off | Ron Charles | January 19, 2021 | Washington Post
Drury is also the author of Hunts in Dreams, The Driftless Area, and The Black Brook.
The aurora was always with us, and almost without exception could be seen on a dark, driftless night.The Home of the Blizzard | Douglas Mawson
The old, old earth is glad to turn from the cark and care of driftless centuries to the first sweet blades of green.The Hills and the Vale | Richard Jefferies
Thus the driftless area is in strong contrast with the immature drift topography about it, where lakes and waterfalls are common.The Elements of Geology | William Harmon Norton
British Dictionary definitions for drift
(also tr) to be carried along by or as if by currents of air or water or (of a current) to carry (a vessel, etc) along
to move aimlessly from place to place or from one activity to another
to wander or move gradually away from a fixed course or point; stray
(also tr) (of snow, sand, etc) to accumulate in heaps or banks or to drive (snow, sand, etc) into heaps or banks
something piled up by the wind or current, such as a snowdrift
tendency, trend, meaning, or purport: the drift of the argument
a state of indecision or inaction
the extent to which a vessel, aircraft, projectile, etc is driven off its course by adverse winds, tide, or current
a general tendency of surface ocean water to flow in the direction of the prevailing winds: North Atlantic Drift
a driving movement, force, or influence; impulse
a controlled four-wheel skid, used by racing drivers to take bends at high speed
a loose unstratified deposit of sand, gravel, etc, esp one transported and deposited by a glacier or ice sheet
a horizontal passage in a mine that follows the mineral vein
something, esp a group of animals, driven along by human or natural agencies: a drift of cattle
Also called: driftpin a tapering steel tool driven into holes to enlarge or align them before bolting or riveting
an uncontrolled slow change in some operating characteristic of a piece of equipment, esp an electronic circuit or component
linguistics gradual change in a language, esp in so far as this is influenced by the internal structure of the language rather than by contact with other languages
Southern African a ford
engineering a copper or brass bar used as a punch
- drifty, adjective
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
Other 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.