\ 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 Getty Images Congress passed a sweeping $2 trillion stimulus package on Friday, its most drastic measure to date to throw a buoy to the American economy that is sinking under the coronavirus outbreak. Amelia Nierenberg, New York Times, "Don’t Need That $1,200 Stimulus Check? Here Are Places to Donate It.," 27 Mar. 2020 Wright sailed competitively in everything from around-the-buoy racing in Chicago to his many Chicago to Mackinac big boat races and an equal number of Port Huron to Mackinac races. Graydon Megan, chicagotribune.com, "Joseph Wright, environmental lawyer and competitive sailor, dies at 81," 10 Nov. 2019 Instead, buoys were launched -- but the lines became tangled. Jeanne Bonner, CNN, "Heavy wind, rain dislodge boat trapped on rocks above Niagara Falls 101 years," 2 Nov. 2019 Monitoring of sea surface temperature readings from multiple platforms, including satellites, ships and buoys will continue. Anchorage Daily News, "Feared return of ‘The Blob’ fizzles - at least for now - as storms churn and chill the North Pacific," 19 Feb. 2020 Flood Warnings continue for more than three dozen rivers and buoys across the entire South. Max Golembo, ABC News, "Heavy rain forecast today and tomorrow for the flooded South," 18 Feb. 2020 In addition to restaurant food and beverage containers, the ban would apply to polystyrene egg cartons, coolers, ice chests, pool toys, dock floats and mooring buoys. David Garrick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Proposal would ban sale and use of polystyrene in San Diego, affecting cups, egg cartons, coolers, pool toys and more," 31 May 2018 Swimrunners run trails in wet suits and swim caps, with pull buoys strapped to their bodies, goggles on their head and their shoes laced up for the entire race. Adam Skolnick, New York Times, "Swimrun, Sweden’s Island-to-Island Race, Comes to America," 11 Mar. 2020 This is the equivalent of tossing him a lifesaving buoy. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: ‘May-December’ green card romance has friends worried," 13 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Major League Baseball managers, buoyed by a belief there will be games played this year, acknowledge the season will be like no other. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Opinion: If there's baseball in 2020, 'there will be no asterisk' for the World Series champion," 29 Apr. 2020 Late July is an excellent time for a vacation or a weekend getaway with a romantic partner since you might be buoyed up by your inner fantasies. oregonlive, "Horoscope for April 22, 2020: Scorpio, check with someone with more knowledge; Capricorn, self-discipline is your friend," 22 Apr. 2020 They were buoyed by seeing patients who were very sick, who had all the odds against them getting better. Detroit Free Press, "Tales from the front lines: Health care workers share coronavirus fears and triumphs," 5 Apr. 2020 But while the statistics may paint a bleak picture, Siegert said he is buoyed by the actions of young environmentalists who understand what's at stake in the climate crisis and are demanding change. NBC News, "Humanity poised to set record for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — again," 24 Feb. 2020 They also were buoyed by a pregame speech from teammate Bobby Roundtree, who waved to the crowd from his wheelchair on the sideline at the end of the game. Shannon Ryan, chicagotribune.com, "Northwestern’s ‘4-wheel drive’ offense dominates Illinois in the rain for a 29-10 win, the Wildcats’ 1st in Big Ten play," 30 Nov. 2019 McCracken said in a phone interview that he was saddened by some of the critical comments on Facebook even as he was buoyed by the board’s action. Leslie Postal, orlandosentinel.com, "Orange County schools proclaim October ‘LGBTQ+ awareness month’ -- a first in Central Florida," 8 Oct. 2019 When the Warriors signed Kevin Durant, they were buoyed by a spike in the NBA’s salary cap — in the summer of 2016, every team effectively received a full max salary slot. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: Can Giannis to the Warriors actually happen? Yes and no," 18 Sep. 2019 The comedy premiered as an out-of-the-box hit, buoyed by rave reviews, and each of its first five seasons won the Emmy for outstanding comedy series. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: Despite Flaws, 'Modern Family' Leaves a Legacy to Love," 9 Apr. 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

28 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Buoy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buoy. Accessed 24 May. 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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