adverb or adjective
\ ə-ˈdrift How to pronounce adrift (audio) \

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 City is up to fifth place in the standings, four points adrift of leaders Liverpool and cross-city rival Manchester United, with a game in hand, while Chelsea remains eighth. Paul Gittings, CNN, "Covid-hit Manchester City cruises to win at struggling Chelsea," 3 Jan. 2021 Woman drowns in front of six kids left adrift in Lake Tahoe. Anna Buchmann,, "Bay Briefing: Pressure’s on Feinstein, Harris at Supreme Court confirmation hearing," 12 Oct. 2020 After the core of the giant molecular cloud dissipates and the iceberg is set adrift in the void, it is constantly bombarded by cosmic radiation. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "‘Oumuamua Might Be a Giant Interstellar Hydrogen Iceberg," 29 May 2020 Eastwood urged people not to simply resort to passive forms of entertainment, as once the Netflix credits start rolling yet again, that feeling of being adrift will only resurface. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Bored of lockdown yet? This downtime may have some benefits ... if you do it right," 7 May 2020 That program is adrift at sea, set to play one more season in the AAC and explore three options. Mike Anthony,, "Mike Anthony: It’s time for David Benedict to handle the football problems that UConn’s Big East move creates," 24 June 2019 But most of the ships lost, carrying more than 4,000 men, were adrift farther out at sea, and went down in a storm that came up in the afternoon of the battle. Mark Munn, The Conversation, "Massive spending in a crisis brought bloody consequences in ancient Athens," 17 Apr. 2020 The coronavirus disaster is messing with the boundary between fantasy and reality, leaving us feeling somewhat fictional ourselves, adrift in the enormity of the crisis and the volume of surreal information before us. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Why You Should Watch Movies About Pandemics, During Pandemics," 18 Mar. 2020 Comey’s confab was a fine start to a week during which the American fashion industry feels adrift, not just because of outside forces but because of internal ones as well. Washington Post, "Fashion Week begins, and so does an entire industry’s angst over its very existence," 8 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for adrift

Time Traveler

The first known use of adrift was in 1578

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Statistics for adrift

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adrift.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for adrift


How to pronounce adrift (audio)

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


adverb or adjective
\ ə-ˈdrift How to pronounce adrift (audio) \

Kids Definition of adrift

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

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