Origin of floater

First recorded in 1710–20; float + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for floater

Historical Examples of floater

  • Euripides used almost the same term in floater, for a seaman.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • The floater under him churned a little, but there was no noise.

    Unwise Child

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • At that instant her floater began to bob fiercely up and down.

    Dorothy's Triumph

    Evelyn Raymond

  • This afternoon we passed a floater who had gone by us at New Madrid.

    The houseboat book

    William F. Waugh

  • He was a financier and a floater of companies which generally paid.

    The Coast of Adventure

    Harold Bindloss

British Dictionary definitions for floater



a person or thing that floats
any of a number of dark spots that appear in one's vision as a result of dead cells or fragments in the lens or vitreous humour of the eye
US and Canadian
  1. a person of no fixed political opinion
  2. a person who votes illegally in more than one district at one election
  3. a voter who can be bribed
Also called: floating policy US and Canadian insurance a policy covering loss or theft of or damage to movable property, such as jewels or furs, regardless of its location
US informal a person who often changes employment, residence, etc; drifter
Australian a loose gold- or opal-bearing rock
Australian (esp in Adelaide) a meat pie in a plate of pea soup
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 floater

"dead body found in water," 1890, U.S. slang, agent noun from float (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper