[raf-ting, rahf-]


the sport of traveling on rivers and streams by raft.

Origin of rafting

First recorded in 1690–1700; raft1 + -ing1


[raft, rahft]


a more or less rigid floating platform made of buoyant material or materials: an inflatable rubber raft.
a collection of logs, planks, casks, etc., fastened together for floating on water.
a slab of reinforced concrete providing a footing on yielding soil, usually for a whole building, so that the weight of the soil that would be displaced by the settlement of the building exceeds the weight of the building itself; mat.

verb (used with object)

to transport on a raft.
to form (logs or the like) into a raft.
to travel or cross by raft.
(of an ice floe) to transport (embedded organic or rock debris) from the shore out to sea.

verb (used without object)

to use a raft; go or travel on a raft.
(of an ice floe) to overlap another ice floe.

Origin of raft

1250–1300; Middle English rafte, perhaps < Old Norse raptr rafter1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rafting

Contemporary Examples of rafting

Historical Examples of rafting

  • I had found it when I was rafting so I knew they did not know about it.

  • After many days of rafting our travellers arrived in a most singular country.

  • For this reason rivermen maintain that timber is made better by rafting.

    Seasoning of Wood

    Joseph B. Wagner

  • Our first business was to water the ship by rafting and towing off the casks.

    Peter Simple

    Frederick Marryat

  • A successful experiment in rafting, from Jelalabad to Dakka, was tried.

British Dictionary definitions for rafting




a buoyant platform of logs, planks, etc, used as a vessel or moored platform
a thick slab of reinforced concrete laid over soft ground to provide a foundation for a building


to convey on or travel by raft, or make a raft from
Derived Formsrafting, noun

Word Origin for raft

C15: from Old Norse raptr rafter




informal a large collection or amounta raft of old notebooks discovered in a cupboard

Word Origin for raft

C19: from raff
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 rafting



"floating platform," late 15c., originally "rafter" (c.1300), from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse raptr "log" (Old Norse -pt- pronounced as -ft-), related to Middle Low German rafter, rachter "rafter" (see rafter).



"large collection," 1830, variant of raff "heap, large amount," from Middle English raf (cf. raffish, riffraff); form and sense associated with raft (n.1).



1680s, from raft (n.1). Related: Rafted; rafting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper