\ ˈbü-ē How to pronounce buoy (audio) , ˈbȯi How to pronounce buoy (audio) \

Definition of buoy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : float sense 2 especially, nautical : a floating object moored to the bottom to mark a channel or something (such as a shoal) lying under the water swam out toward the buoy


buoyed; buoying; buoys

Definition of buoy (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to mark by or as if by a float or buoy buoy an anchor
2a : to keep afloat a raft buoyed by empty oil drums
b : support, uplift an economy buoyed by the dramatic postwar growth of industryTime
3 : to raise the spirits of usually used with uphope buoys him up

intransitive verb

: float usually used with upThey buoyed up like a cork.

Illustration of buoy

Illustration of buoy


buoy 1

In the meaning defined above

Examples of buoy in a Sentence

Verb The tax breaks should help to buoy the economy.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Currently, Rhynard said the Coast Guard is busy pulling navigation buoys out of the water. Laura Johnston, cleveland, "Ice breaking worries: Lake Carriers worry about Coast Guard capacity," 9 Dec. 2019 Instead of deploying relatively few very expensive sensor-laden buoys, Sofar shipped out hundreds of cheap, light-weight vessels that could roam the oceans at a fraction of the cost of their predecessors. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "Seagoing drones are eliminating the data gap on Earth’s last frontier," 4 Dec. 2019 This technique could one day complement the traditional method of tsunami warning, which uses buoys dotted across the ocean to measure the height of the traveling wave. Alexandra Witze, Smithsonian, "Five Things You Probably Didn’t Know GPS Could Do," 1 Nov. 2019 Researchers then can track the shark’s tag, which pings nearby buoys equipped with acoustic receivers. BostonGlobe.com, "8 things we learned about Cape Cod sharks from Sunday’s ‘60 Minutes’ segment," 30 Sep. 2019 The Pacific Fishery Management Council authorized initial use of deep-set buoy gear, which minimizes catch of non-target species, including marine mammals and sea turtles. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Regulators approve new swordfish gear that’s safer for whales, turtles," 18 Sep. 2019 The Barracuda pops a communications relay buoy and then takes up station next to the mine and awaits orders. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Navy Takes Another Successful Step Toward Mine-Hunting Robots," 10 Sep. 2019 Today, the startup Sofar Ocean Technologies opened up access to a new global array of oceanic buoys that promise detailed measurement of the wind, weather, and currents across the Pacific, and eventually all the world’s oceans. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "Seagoing drones are eliminating the data gap on Earth’s last frontier," 4 Dec. 2019 Whales drag fishing line and buoys behind them during their long migrations across the world’s oceans. Washington Post, "Pacific bird refuge struggles as ocean garbage patch grows," 10 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Gideon Saar’s associates expect about 1,000 party activists to attend the launch and have been buoyed by support of a half-dozen Likud lawmakers, including the powerful chairman of the party’s executive body. Washington Post, "Netanyahu’s Likud challenger surging ahead of primary launch," 16 Dec. 2019 It had also been buoyed by a takeover premium; now E*Trade looks a little lonely. The Economist, "Charles Schwab agrees to buy TD Ameritrade for $26bn," 28 Nov. 2019 Sabathia, still in severe pain a day later, his left arm in a sling, showed little emotion, saying his spirits have been buoyed by the gracious text messages, the glorious tributes, and fan applause. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Yankees' CC Sabathia goes out in perfect style, leaving his all on the field," 18 Oct. 2019 People have been cutting down Christmas trees since trees first became a part of Christmas, but now something new is happening – millennials are helping to buoy tree farms across North America. The Christian Science Monitor, "Keeping homeless people in mental view," 20 Dec. 2019 Judging by this week’s mailbag questions, Golden State fans are curious about how the team’s current struggles could help buoy its chances of becoming the next San Antonio Spurs. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors mailbag: D’Angelo Russell’s trade value? Team’s offseason plans?," 6 Dec. 2019 That helped to buoy sentiment as investors wait for a U.S.-Chinese trade deal ahead of a Dec. 15 deadline for a tariff hike. Washington Post, "Asian stocks rise after China factory activity improves," 2 Dec. 2019 The emergence of the big U.S. streaming platforms in rights contests has helped to buoy valuations for the most sought-after content. Scott Soshnick, Fortune, "Dell. Alibaba. Now Manchester City? Silver Lake’s $500M Bet Brings Tech Expertise to English Premier League," 27 Nov. 2019 Republicans claimed Monday that transcripts are being released selectively to buoy the Democrats’ case against the president. Brittany Shammas, The Denver Post, "White House officials defy subpoenas to testify in impeachment inquiry as investigators release transcripts," 4 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'buoy.' 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 buoy


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1596, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for buoy

Noun and Verb

Middle English boye, probably from Middle Dutch boeye; akin to Old High German bouhhan sign — more at beacon

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Time Traveler for buoy

Time Traveler

The first known use of buoy was in the 13th century

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Statistics for buoy

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Buoy.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buoy. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for buoy


How to pronounce buoy (audio) How to pronounce buoy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of buoy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an object that floats on water in a lake, bay, river, etc., to show areas that are safe or dangerous for boats



English Language Learners Definition of buoy (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (someone) to feel happy or confident
: to lift or improve (something)


\ ˈbü-ē How to pronounce buoy (audio) , ˈbȯi \

Kids Definition of buoy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a floating object anchored in a body of water to mark a channel or to warn of danger


buoyed; buoying

Kids Definition of buoy (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to keep from sinking : keep afloat
2 : to brighten the mood of … if hope had not buoyed me up, I must have … given up.— Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped

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More from Merriam-Webster on buoy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with buoy

Spanish Central: Translation of buoy

Nglish: Translation of buoy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of buoy for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about buoy

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a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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