or float·a·tion

[floh-tey-shuh n]


an act or state of floating.
the launching of a commercial venture, bond issue, loan, etc.
Metallurgy. a process for separating the different minerals in a mass of powdered ore based on their tendency to sink in, or float on, a given liquid.
the science of floating bodies.

Origin of flotation

1800–10; float + -ation; compare French flottaison (see flotsam)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for flotation

Contemporary Examples of flotation

  • That side now has to be repaired and fitted with flotation devices that will eventually help the wreck float to the surface.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Raising of the Concordia

    Barbie Latza Nadeau

    September 17, 2013

Historical Examples of flotation

  • Besides this its power of flotation—suspension in the air—is circumscribed.

    Flying Machines

    W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell

  • You're high-grading and you should be using a flotation process.

    The Great Gray Plague

    Raymond F. Jones

  • "It is about that Sahara flotation, Mr. Jackson," he began rather doubtfully.

    The Yellow God

    H. Rider Haggard

  • They've asked me to handle the flotation of stock and the placing of the bonds.

    Find the Woman

    Arthur Somers Roche

  • If they do not, we will make our own flotation with help of letter, which I will publish.'

    The Transvaal from Within

    J. P. Fitzpatrick

British Dictionary definitions for flotation




  1. the launching or financing of a commercial enterprise by bond or share issues
  2. the raising of a loan or new capital by bond or share issues
power or ability to float; buoyancy
Also called: froth flotation a process to concentrate the valuable ore in low-grade ores. The ore is ground to a powder, mixed with water containing surface-active chemicals, and vigorously aerated. The bubbles formed trap the required ore fragments and carry them to the surface froth, which is then skimmed off
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 flotation

1850s, from float (v.) + -ation. Spelling influenced by French (cf. floatation).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

flotation in Medicine




The process of separating different materials, especially minerals, by agitating a pulverized mixture of the materials with water, oil, and chemicals. Differential wetting of the suspended particles causes unwetted particles to be carried by air bubbles to the surface for collection.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.