\ 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

Verb The tax breaks should help to buoy the economy.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The buoy, which had to travel a few miles in the storm’s strong currents, is typically used to help direct ships coming from the west. BostonGlobe.com, 23 Aug. 2021 On her iPhone, Spurgeon has an alert app that signals when a shark swims near this buoy, which sits about a mile offshore. Scott Wilson, Anchorage Daily News, 24 July 2021 Every 500-meter section of water is marked by a large buoy. Olivia Reiner, USA TODAY, 23 July 2021 Working in a hydraulics lab at the University of Porto, the team tested designs for TENGs embedded in a one-eighth-scale replica of an oceanic buoy. Maddie Bender, Scientific American, 10 Aug. 2021 The marina is allowing boat retrievals and, for now, a hazard buoy indicates the end of the ramp extension used for pulling boats out of the water. Sophia Eppolito, The Arizona Republic, 7 Aug. 2021 The buoy is located in the 80,000-acre lease area carved out for the MarWin wind farm. Christine Condon, baltimoresun.com, 4 Aug. 2021 To help further orient him, the center of the lake was clearly marked by a buoy. Quanta Magazine, 29 June 2021 An isolated gust of 83 mph was also clocked by a river buoy near Occoquan, Va. in the second wave. Washington Post, 27 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That older individuals are seemingly at greater risk of breakthrough infections will likely buoy calls for booster shots in wealthy countries. Robert Hart, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 To buoy their spirits, as is his wont, Coach Lasso, played by the irrepressibly enthusiastic Jason Sudeikis, launches into a pep talk. Jen Chaney, Vulture, 20 July 2021 And don’t species like starlings buoy us with their resilience in the face of the sometimes absurd ugliness of a city? Julia M. Zichello, Scientific American, 3 May 2021 Adding someone such as Iguodala who’s intimately familiar with their system and understands how to maximize the team’s best players should only buoy their chances. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Aug. 2021 This shift into the meat-substitutes market—expected to reach $23.2 billion by 2024—has helped buoy investor sentiment for the company's listing, given the growth potential. Yvonne Lau, Fortune, 1 June 2021 Another stimulus check could help buoy members of the Black community as the economy and job market stabilize. Kori Hale, Forbes, 12 May 2021 Nijkamp was hired May 30, 2019 to buoy the technical side of the organization and stabilize the roster after a slow start to FC Cincinnati's inaugural MLS campaign. Pat Brennan, The Enquirer, 11 Aug. 2021 However, Newsom still has a number of advantages: Incumbents always use their office to buoy their reelection efforts. Los Angeles Times, 30 July 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near buoy

buon fresco



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Statistics for buoy

Last Updated

10 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Buoy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buoy. Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for buoy



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 cast myself down and given up.— Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped


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