\ə-ˈdrift \

Definition of adrift 

1 : without motive power and without anchor or mooring a boat adrift on the sea

2 : without ties, guidance, or security people morally adrift

3 : free from restraint or support

Examples of adrift in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In the summer of 1983, at the age of 23, Ashcraft and her boyfriend, Richard Sharp, were left adrift on their yacht after being caught in a storm while sailing at sea. Morgan M. Evans, Fox News, "'Adrift' star Shailene Woodley reveals she maintained a 'miserable' 350 calories a day diet for film," 28 June 2018 The Father’s Day letter-writing initiative began because more than 97 percent of service members killed in the line of duty are men, according to the foundation, leaving most of the foundation’s beneficiaries feeling adrift on that day. Allison Klein, Washington Post, "Father’s Day is ‘bittersweet’ for these children who lost their dads in the line of duty," 15 June 2018 Worse yet, LeBron isn’t likely to have made up his mind by draft day (June 21), leaving the future blueprint about as secure as a barge adrift. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Who will challenge the Warriors next season? Let the LeBron free agency watch begin," 9 June 2018 José Antonio Meade, a non-party candidate picked by the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), is further adrift. The Economist, "How Andrés Manuel López Obrador will remake Mexico," 23 June 2018 That leaves the Gulf Cooperation Council adrift at a time of regional tension. Jon Gambrell, Fox News, "Analysis: Qatar crisis widens fissures among US allies," 4 June 2018 In 1611, English explorer Henry Hudson, his son, and several other people were set adrift in present-day Hudson Bay by mutineers aboard the Discovery. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 22 June 2018 Yeah Yeahs were all admirers — but Cardamone was adrift after having come so close to rock stardom. August Brown, latimes.com, "Joe Cardamone of the Icarus Line finds faith in music after a string of tragedies," 20 June 2018 Roberts's contralto voice grounds a Lina set adrift in a confusing universe of puppets and apparitions. Irene Hsiao, Chicago Reader, "The four plays that make up Stories of the Body plumb the depths of women’s experience," 30 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adrift.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of adrift

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for adrift

a- entry 1 + drift entry 1

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Phrases Related to adrift

cast adrift

come adrift

Statistics for adrift

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for adrift

The first known use of adrift was in 1578

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More Definitions for adrift



English Language Learners Definition of adrift

of a boat : floating on the water without being tied to anything or controlled by anyone

: without guidance, purpose, or support

: behind by a specified amount in a race, competition, etc.

\ə-ˈdrift \

Kids Definition of adrift

: in a drifting state a ship adrift in the storm Boats floated adrift.

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Comments on adrift

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lying above or upon

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