\ 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 One memorable award went to a boat captain who screamed past a marker buoy on the wrong side, shearing off the lower unit from his outboard motor on Lake of the Woods. Tony Kennedy, Star Tribune, "Old-school Waterdogs stick to the ways of their fishing club," 27 Aug. 2020 The charge also has a floater, like a little buoy, for radio-communication. Christina Mackenzie, Popular Science, "This robotic maritime bomb squad keeps humans a safe distance away," 4 Aug. 2020 What used to be marked with a buoy alone is now marked by GPS as well, with far greater accuracy for return dives. Chad Lewis, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Shipwreck Off Florida’s Coast Pits Archaeologists Against Treasure Hunters," 22 Jan. 2020 For trophy walleye, troll the waters from the Lorain Sand Bar to the weather buoy on the Canadian border. cleveland, "Yellow perch fishing finally returns to western Lake Erie: Northeast Ohio Fishing Report for the weekend of Friday, July 31," 30 July 2020 Florida ICUs nearing capacity as deaths spike; Starbucks to require masks – virus updates Hazard pay: Would paying nurses more buoy safety? Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY, "'Pushing the boundaries': Long lines for COVID tests, stressed labs delay results as demand spikes," 12 July 2020 Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Sciences recently launched a buoy in Lake Michigan near Atwater Park in Milwaukee. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lake Michigan water levels continue to break records," 4 June 2020 But even without multiplayer mode, these games act as a social buoy by offering something novel to talk about. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, "During 2020’s wild ride, rediscovering video games," 2 June 2020 And Nain deployed its first 4.0 buoy in early February. Matthew Halliday/undark, Popular Science, "Inuit researchers are leading a scientific movement to understand life on the ice," 29 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Kourtny Garrett, president and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc., told me it’s the thousands of downtown residents like Rhyner who buoy her optimism. Dallas News, "Why downtown Dallas walkin’ man Mike Rhyner is trying to keep the faith amid the pandemic and protests," 17 Aug. 2020 Farmer was eager for Garvie to classify Aguas Zarcas scientifically, because getting an official designation was sure to buoy prices. Joshua Sokol, Science | AAAS, "An unusual meteorite, more valuable than gold, may hold the building blocks of life," 13 Aug. 2020 Business travelers usually buoy the airline industry between September and the beginning the holiday travel season in late November. Dallas News, "Travel industry struggling to find footing as bookings hang on COVID-19 infection data," 7 Aug. 2020 But questions about how to manage the novel coronavirus pandemic and buoy the city's economy now are center stage. Lorraine Longhi, The Arizona Republic, "Scottsdale voters go to the polls for crowded mayoral and council races," 4 Aug. 2020 Tech helped buoy the transition and is playing a more central role as schools figure out what to do next. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Zoom, Microsoft and Apple take on remote learning challenges as kids head back to school," 9 Apr. 2020 Instead of bogging you down, mini-breaks will buoy you and make your routine a little less routine. Tehrene Firman, Redbook, "14 Surprising Things That Are Making You Tired," 20 Oct. 2017 But there will be no roar of the crowd, a major blow to his and other downtown Minneapolis bars, restaurants and other businesses that depend on Twins foot traffic to buoy their sales. Nicole Norfleet, Star Tribune, "Downtown Minneapolis restaurants, bars expect 'huge loss' with no Twins foot traffic," 28 July 2020 Forward Martin Kaut, who will make his NHL debut Wednesday at Pepsi Center against the New York Islanders, is not the hockey savior expected to buoy the Avs through adversity over the final 24 regular-season games. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "Avalanche recall former first-round pick Martin Kaut as depth, trade flexibility tested amid injury wave," 18 Feb. 2020

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

9 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Buoy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buoy. Accessed 20 Sep. 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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