- Also called ice floe. a sheet of floating ice, chiefly on the surface of the sea, smaller than an ice field.
- a detached floating portion of such a sheet.
Origin of floe
1810–20; perhaps < Norwegian flo layer (compare Old Norse flō layer, level); cognate with Old English flōh piece, flagstone; cf. flaw1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for floe
"Be ready, now," said Kit; when some one of the party on the floe fired on a sudden.
About seven o'clock we heard a splashing out along the floe.
We towed the carcass up to the edge of the floe, and pulled it up.
She must have been caught in the floe before she could make her way into harbour for shelter.Archibald Hughson
To get through this floe, it was necessary to form a channel with the ice-saws.Notable Voyagers
W.H.G. Kingston and Henry Frith
- See ice floe
C19: probably from Norwegian flo slab, layer, from Old Norse; see flaw 1
Word Origin and History for floe
1817, first used by Arctic explorers, probably from Norwegian flo "layer, slab," from Old Norse flo, related to first element in flagstone (q.v.). Earlier explorers used flake.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A mass or sheet of floating ice.
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