\ 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
2 : life 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 up hope buoys him up

intransitive verb

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

Illustration of buoy

Illustration of buoy


buoy 1

In the meaning defined above

Examples of buoy in a Sentence


The tax breaks should help to buoy the economy.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Under its current plans, Phillips 66 is seeking permission to build two offshore buoys about 27 miles east of Port Aransas. Houston Chronicle, "Phillips 66 seeks to build offshore crude oil export terminal near Corpus Christi," 19 June 2019 Researchers can receive sound from up to four buoys at once and point them toward the source. Washington Post, "Scientists record singing by rare right whale for first time," 19 June 2019 Now, the Ocean Cleanup has hit another snag: Its buoy appears to be breaking up. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Project to Clean Up the Pacific Garbage Patch Is Literally Falling Apart," 8 Jan. 2019 This buoy south of Long Island also apparently recorded the phenomenon, the weather service said. Martin Finucane, BostonGlobe.com, "There was a meteotsunami last night off the coast. What’s that?," 16 May 2018 Horton had attached a single glass loop to the exterior, midway down the side, from which the trap might be hung from dock or buoy, suspended in tide. C.j. Chivers, Popular Mechanics, "Meet the Man Glassblowing These Gorgeous Retro Fishing Lures," 26 Apr. 2016 Quantitative easing lets central banks which have already lowered interest rates to close to zero buoy faltering economies by buying government bonds and other debt to reduce long-term interest rates. Brian Blackstone, WSJ, "ECB Stimulus’s Mixed Legacy: Economic Success, Political Fiasco," 12 Dec. 2018 Traditionally, researchers have estimated ocean temperatures using thermometer-equipped buoys. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Earth May Be Warming Even Faster Than We Thought," 2 Nov. 2018 Dye says rain associated with the hurricane has started to show up on radar off the Big Island of Hawaii and offshore buoys are detecting higher than normal waves. Fox News, "The Latest: Hurricane watch extended to Maui," 22 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Thank you also to the greater New Canaan and Farmington-Avon communities, who have buoyed our spirits with their support and solidarity. Zach Murdock, courant.com, "Family, friends of Jennifer Farber Dulos still reeling from ‘nightmare’ as search continues," 21 June 2019 Goldman Sachs recently reported on the massive uptick in streaming music sales buoying the industry, which had been in a slump as recently as 2014. ExpressNews.com, "Investing like a rock star?," 21 June 2019 In 2010 octopus experts Julian Finn and Mark Norman documented what actually occurs: The argonaut moves by expelling jets of water, surfaces enough to trap air in her shell, then is buoyed at an optimal water level by the air bubble. 3. Taylor Maggiacomo, National Geographic, "To mate, this octopus gives life and limb," 17 June 2019 Ranked as the 39th best team in the world by FIFA, five places lower than Thailand, Chile is making its first appearance in a Women's World Cup and might have been buoyed when it was revealed USWNT coach Ellis had sent out a second-string side. Ben Church, CNN, "USWNT dominates Chile to coast into Women's World Cup last 16," 16 June 2019 Now buoyed by the local government’s culling of pollution producers and incentivizing of green tech, a roster of inventive, and in some cases lucrative, eco businesses is steadily growing. Crystal Reid, Popular Mechanics, "This Tiny Island Is Trying to Save the World. But Why?," 12 June 2019 The genre has virality imprinted in its DNA, which is demonstrated on a weekly basis by a flood of memes that buoy songs to relevance. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, "How “Songland” Tries and Fails to Honor the Songwriter," 11 June 2019 Republicans have cited the passage of the tax-cut law, low unemployment rates and wage increases as signs that Trump’s policies have buoyed the economy. Laura Davison, Fortune, "Trump’s Tariffs Have Already Wiped Out Tax Bill Savings for Average Americans," 7 June 2019 Republicans have cited the passage of the tax-cut law, low unemployment rates and wage increases as signs that Trump’s policies have buoyed the economy. Bloomberg News, The Mercury News, "Tariffs have already wiped out tax bill savings for average Americans," 7 June 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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Dictionary Entries near buoy



buon fresco





Statistics for buoy

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for buoy

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

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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
2 : life buoy


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

Comments on buoy

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


to take the place or position of

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