See more synonyms for floater on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person or thing that floats.
  2. Informal. a person who is continually changing his or her place of abode, employment, etc.
  3. an employee without a fixed job assignment: One of our officers works as a floater, filling in when someone is out.
  4. U.S. Politics. a voter not attached to any party, especially a person whose vote may be purchased.
  5. a person who fraudulently votes, usually for pay, in different places in the same election.
  6. a speck or string that appears to be drifting across the eye just outside the line of vision, caused by cells or cell fragments in the vitreous humor registering on the retina; musca volitans.
  7. Also called floating policy. Insurance. a policy that insures movable personal property, covering a loss in any location.
  8. Finance. any security or note that has a floating rate.
  9. Medicine/Medical Slang. a corpse found floating in a body of water.
  10. Animal Behavior. a territorial animal that has been unable to claim a territory and is forced into undefended, marginal areas with limited resources.
  11. Australian. a meat pie served in a plate of gravy or pea soup.

Origin of floater

First recorded in 1710–20; float + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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


  1. a person or thing that floats
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. US informal a person who often changes employment, residence, etc; drifter
  6. Australian a loose gold- or opal-bearing rock
  7. 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