to rest or remain on the surface of a liquid; be buoyant: The hollow ball floated.
to move gently on the surface of a liquid; drift along: The canoe floated downstream.
to rest or move in a liquid, the air, etc.: a balloon floating on high.
to move lightly and gracefully: She floated down the stairs.
to move or hover before the eyes or in the mind: Romantic visions floated before his eyes.
to pass from one person to another: A nasty rumor about his firm is floating around town.
to be free from attachment or involvement.
to move or drift about: to float from place to place.
to vacillate (often followed by between).
to be launched, as a company, scheme, etc.
(of a currency) to be allowed to fluctuate freely in the foreign-exchange market instead of being exchanged at a fixed rate.
(of an interest rate) to change periodically according to money-market conditions.
Commerce. to be in circulation, as an acceptance; be awaiting maturity.
to cause to float.
to cover with water or other liquid; flood; irrigate.
to launch (a company, scheme, etc.); set going.
to issue on the stock market in order to raise money, as stocks or bonds.
to let (a currency or interest rate) fluctuate in the foreign-exchange or money market.
to make smooth with a float, as the surface of plaster.
Theater. to lay down (a flat), usually by bracing the bottom edge of the frame with the foot and allowing the rest to fall slowly to the floor.
something that floats, as a raft.
something for buoying up.
an inflated bag to sustain a person in water; life preserver.
(in certain types of tanks, cisterns, etc.) a device, as a hollow ball, that through its buoyancy automatically regulates the level, supply, or outlet of a liquid.
Nautical. a floating platform attached to a wharf, bank, or the like, and used as a landing.
Aeronautics. a hollow, boatlike structure under the wing or fuselage of a seaplane or flying boat, keeping it afloat in water.
Angling. a piece of cork or other material for supporting a baited line in the water and indicating by its movements when a fish bites.
Zoology. an inflated organ that supports an animal in the water.
a vehicle bearing a display, usually an elaborate tableau, in a parade or procession: Each class prepared a float for the football pageant.
a glass of fruit juice or soft drink with one or more scoops of ice cream floating in it: a root-beer float.
(especially in the northeastern United States) a milkshake with one or more scoops of ice cream floating in it.
Banking. uncollected checks and commercial paper in process of transfer from bank to bank.
the total amount of any cost-of-living or other variable adjustments added to an employee's pay or a retiree's benefits: a float of $6 per month on top of Social Security benefits.
an act or instance of floating, as a currency on the foreign-exchange market.
a flat tool for spreading and smoothing plaster or stucco.
a tool for polishing marble.
a single-cut file of moderate smoothness.
a loose-fitting, sometimes very full dress without a waistline.
(in weaving and knitting) a length of yarn that extends over several rows or stitches without being interworked.
British. a sum of money used by a storekeeper to provide change for the till at the start of a day's business.
British. a small vehicle, usually battery powered, used to make deliveries, as of milk.
a low-bodied dray for transporting heavy goods.
loose fragments of rock, ore, etc., that have been moved from one place to another by the action of wind, water, etc.
ore that has been washed downhill from an orebody and is found lying on the surface of the ground.
any mineral in suspension in water.
Usually floats. British Theater. footlight (def. 1).
- outfloat, verb (used with object)
- re·float, verb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use float in a sentence
While the rest of us quarantine at home, influencers will lounge on pool floats, host meet-and-greets with fans, party together.
Near a good halfway point for float trips on the Current River, two sides of this dreamy tiny house in the Ozarks are bordered by Shannondale State Forest.
Achim Randelhoff, an oceanographer at Université Laval in Quebec City, and colleagues deployed autonomous submersible floats in Baffin Bay that can measure photosynthetic activity and algae concentrations underwater.Trapped under ice, light-loving algae grow in the dark Arctic winter | Jonathan Lambert | September 25, 2020 | Science News
Here’s a list of some of my favorite water gear that helps me enjoy the remaining hot days, whether that’s taking a canyoneering trip or doing a lazy float with the kids.The Gear That Lets Me Enjoy the Last Days of Summer | Graham Averill | September 15, 2020 | Outside Online
If you don’t feel the need for speed, the Super Mable makes a great pool or off-shore float.
In the meantime, Epstein has tried to use his charitable projects to float him back to the top.Sleazy Billionaire’s Double Life Featured Beach Parties With Stephen Hawking | M.L. Nestel | January 8, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
You can go as deep as you like, or float about on the surface.D’Angelo’s ‘Black Messiah’ Was Worth Waiting 15 Years For | James Joiner | December 16, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
He allows the subject to float over to Hitchcock with a calm directness that I admire.Alfred Hitchcock’s Fade to Black: The Great Director’s Final Days | David Freeman | December 13, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
They haven't been dead long enough to float, but that will come in time.Whatever You Do Someone Will Die. A Short Story About Impossible Choices in Iraq | Nathan Bradley Bethea | August 31, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
But miraculously they must float in the heavens so far away from us, their beautiful light will continue to shine on us forever.Billy Crystal's Tribute to Robin Williams at the Emmys Was Perfect | Kevin Fallon | August 26, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
One frequently wishes to ascertain the specific gravity of quantities of fluid too small to float an urinometer.A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis | James Campbell Todd
The cloud coals grow fainter—now purple; and now in ashes they float away into the chill blue.The Soldier of the Valley | Nelson Lloyd
A huge float comes along, depicting the stone age and the primitive man, every detail carefully studied from the museums.The Real Latin Quarter | F. Berkeley Smith
Slowly did they float through the darkness of the night, appearing like the work of fairy hands.A Woman's Journey Round the World | Ida Pfeiffer
Seeds of plants incased in their often dense envelopes may, because they float, be independently carried great distances.Outlines of the Earth's History | Nathaniel Southgate Shaler
British Dictionary definitions for float
to rest or cause to rest on the surface of a fluid or in a fluid or space without sinking; be buoyant or cause to exhibit buoyancy: oil floats on water; to float a ship
to move or cause to move buoyantly, lightly, or freely across a surface or through air, water, etc; drift: fog floated across the road
to move about aimlessly, esp in the mind: thoughts floated before him
to suspend or be suspended without falling; hang: lights floated above them
to launch or establish (a commercial enterprise, etc)
to offer for sale (stock or bond issues, etc) on the stock market
(tr) finance to allow (a currency) to fluctuate against other currencies in accordance with market forces
(tr) to flood, inundate, or irrigate (land), either artificially or naturally
(tr) to spread, smooth, or level (a surface of plaster, rendering, etc)
something that floats
angling an indicator attached to a baited line that sits on the water and moves when a fish bites
a small hand tool with a rectangular blade used for floating plaster, etc
mainly US any buoyant object, such as a platform or inflated tube, used offshore by swimmers or, when moored alongside a pier, as a dock by vessels
Also called: paddle a blade of a paddle wheel
British a buoyant garment or device to aid a person in staying afloat
a hollow watertight structure fitted to the underside of an aircraft to allow it to land on water
another name for air bladder (def. 2)
an exhibit carried in a parade, esp a religious parade
a motor vehicle used to carry a tableau or exhibit in a parade, esp a civic parade
a small delivery vehicle, esp one powered by batteries: a milk float
Australian and NZ a vehicle for transporting horses
banking, mainly US the total value of uncollected cheques and other commercial papers
mainly US and Canadian a sum to be applied to minor expenses; petty cash
a sum of money used by shopkeepers to provide change at the start of the day's business, this sum being subtracted from the total at the end of the day when calculating the day's takings
the hollow floating ball of a ballcock
engineering a hollow cylindrical structure in a carburettor that actuates the fuel valve
mainly US and Canadian a carbonated soft drink with a scoop of ice cream in it
(in textiles) a single thread brought to or above the surface of a woven fabric, esp to form a pattern
forestry a measure of timber equal to eighteen loads
- floatable, adjective
- floatability, noun
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
Scientific definitions for float
An air-filled sac in certain aquatic organisms, such as kelp, that helps maintain buoyancy. Also called air bladder air vesicle
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.