\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

The groups said a cargo ship picked up the migrants—including people from South Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Somalia—adrift in the Mediterranean Sea and brought them to the coastal Libyan city of Misrata, east of Tripoli, on Nov. 10. Jared Malsin, WSJ, "Migrants Rescued by Cargo Ship Refuse to Get Off in Libya," 19 Nov. 2018 That leaves the Gulf Cooperation Council adrift at a time of regional tension. Washington Post, "Analysis: Qatar crisis widens fissures among US allies," 5 June 2018 It will be cast adrift into the silent blackness of space. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "NASA is about to turn off the Kepler spacecraft, and it will drift away," 30 Oct. 2018 That leaves the Gulf Cooperation Council adrift at a time of regional tension. Washington Post, "Analysis: Qatar crisis widens fissures among US allies," 5 June 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of adrift

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for adrift

a- entry 1 + drift entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about adrift

Statistics for adrift

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for adrift

The first known use of adrift was in 1578

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for adrift

adrift

adjective

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on adrift

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with adrift

Spanish Central: Translation of adrift

Nglish: Translation of adrift for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adrift for Arabic Speakers

Comments on adrift

What made you want to look up adrift? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a typical or ideal example

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!