- 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 floes
The rending crash which accompanies the breaking of floes of ice.The Sailor's Word-Book
William Henry Smyth
Freezing out on the floes; stewing under their roofs of snow.Fast in the Ice
We left our canoes and oomiaks there, and took to sledges because the floes were unbroken.The Giant of the North
Then I thought to myself, Why should we live always among the floes and bergs?
We should have had to scramble on the floes and wait there till—till we died together.
- See ice floe
C19: probably from Norwegian flo slab, layer, from Old Norse; see flaw 1
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 floes
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.