drift·​er | \ ˈdrif-tər How to pronounce drifter (audio) \

Definition of drifter

: one that drifts especially : one that travels or moves about aimlessly

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Examples of drifter in a Sentence

He was a drifter who hitchhiked from state to state. the drifter just packed up and moved on to the next dead-end job

Recent Examples on the Web

Known as the notorious one-eyed ex-drifter, he was narrowly saved from execution three years earlier when Bush commuted a death sentence to life in prison because of flimsy evidence in his capital case. Fox News, "Prison portraits from retiring AP reporter Mike Graczyk," 31 July 2018 Paula Fox’s portrait of a female drifter in the years surrounding World War II is obstinately and fascinatingly opaque, but alive thanks to its detailed characterization... Karina Longworth, WSJ, "Five Best: Karina Longworth on Novels About Hollywood," 29 Mar. 2019 Gone are Bulosan’s pea pickers, drifters and gamblers, hopping freight trains up and down the coast. New York Times, "A Debut Novel Traces the Filipino Experience in the United States," 2 May 2018 According to court records, Miller was a drifter who had been living in the home of a man who picked him up hitch-hiking. Travis Loller, The Seattle Times, "Murder victim’s mother remembers ‘bubbly, happy character’," 28 Nov. 2018 But, when drifter Zachary Slade comes into the picture, passions hit the fan and plotting ensues. Kt Hawbaker, chicagotribune.com, "Hell in a Handbag announces casting for Charles Ludlam's 'The Artificial Jungle'," 20 June 2018

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

1897, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for drifter

Last Updated

10 May 2019

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Time Traveler for drifter

The first known use of drifter was in 1897

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More Definitions for drifter



English Language Learners Definition of drifter

: a person who moves from one place or job to another without a purpose or plan

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More from Merriam-Webster on drifter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with drifter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for drifter

Spanish Central: Translation of drifter

Nglish: Translation of drifter for Spanish Speakers

Comments on drifter

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incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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