float

noun
\ ˈflōt \

Definition of float

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of floating
2 : something that floats in or on the surface of a fluid: such as
a : a device (such as a cork) buoying up the baited end of a fishing line
b : a floating platform anchored near a shoreline for use by swimmers or boats
c : a hollow ball that floats at the end of a lever in a cistern, tank, or boiler and regulates the liquid level
d : a sac containing air or gas and buoying up the body of a plant or animal
e : a watertight structure giving an airplane buoyancy on water
3 : a tool or apparatus for smoothing a surface (as of wet concrete)
4 : a government grant of a fixed amount of land not yet located by survey out of a larger specific tract
5 : a vehicle with a platform used to carry an exhibit in a parade also : the vehicle and exhibit together
6a : an amount of money represented by checks outstanding and in process of collection
b : the time between a transaction (such as the writing of a check or a purchase on credit) and the actual withdrawal of funds to cover it
c : the volume of a company's shares available for active trading in the auction market
7 : a soft drink with ice cream floating in it

float

verb
floated; floating; floats

Definition of float (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to rest on the surface of or be suspended in a fluid
2a : to drift on or through or as if on or through a fluid yellow leaves floated down
b : wander
3 of a currency : to find a level in the international exchange market in response to the law of supply and demand and without any restrictive effect of artificial support or control

transitive verb

1a : to cause to float in or on the surface of a fluid
b : to cause to float as if in a fluid
2 : flood float a cranberry bog
3 : to smooth (something, such as plaster or cement) with a float
4a : to put forth for acceptance float a proposal
b : to place (an issue of securities) on the market
c : to obtain money for the establishment or development of (an enterprise) by issuing and selling securities
d : negotiate float a loan

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Synonyms & Antonyms for float

Synonyms: Noun

dock, jetty, landing, levee, pier, quai, quay, wharf

Synonyms: Verb

drift, glide, hang, hover, poise, ride, sail, swim, waft

Antonyms: Verb

settle, sink

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Examples of float in a Sentence

Noun

We are building a float for the homecoming parade. the crew put the cargo on the float before heading back down the river

Verb

She was floating on her back. ice floating in the river Will this material sink or float? dust floating through the air The incoming tide will eventually float the ship off the reef. They floated the logs down the river. She floated gracefully across the stage. His voice floated to the back of the room.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Before Monday’s report, short interest was around 20% of the float. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "Stitch Fix Stumbles Again," 10 Dec. 2018 If the lentils float, the woman is said to be a witch. Seema Yasmin, SELF, "In Rural India, Protecting Women From Witch Hunting, and an Impending Flood," 17 Aug. 2018 Shouts of gratitude were followed by exclamations of delight when people saw the float — a lush garden with purple and yellow flowers and benches. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "Indy Pride: 7 proud moments that stood out at the parade," 9 June 2018 Dunk the ends of a lock of your hair in a cup of water (or take a bath, any excuse), and see if your hair floats, sinks, or stays somewhere in the middle. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "How to Figure Out Your Curl Type and Why It Actually Helps," 14 Jan. 2019 Then, mix up a fresh batch of tile grout (or buy premixed grout), and use a grout float to smear grout diagonally across the surface and deep into the joints. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Clean Dirty Grout," 5 Dec. 2018 That one comes with a tiny lawn mower, patio table with an umbrella and chairs, and a pool complete with a lounge chair and a duck float. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "The Dollhouse In Joanna Gaines' New Hearth & Hand Collection Is Unbelievably Cute," 1 Nov. 2018 Jenny chose an aqua and beige ocean theme for their cabin — decorating with glass floats, a sea-foam green wreath and tiny seashells for cabinet drawer pulls. Evan Bush, The Seattle Times, "‘The Property’: A family’s getaway cabin defined its dreams, until a tragic Sunday morning," 24 Sep. 2018 For a celebration full of Americana, catch Bigfork’s Western Stars and Stripes parade with floats, dancers, 4-H members, Shriners in miniature cars, and riders on horseback on a three-block-long downtown. April Orcutt, latimes.com, "Here's where you'll find maximum fun for your Fourth of July celebrations," 17 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This echoes an idea floated by the former press secretaries for both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. William Mcgurn, WSJ, "The Jim Acosta Hour," 19 Nov. 2018 Design The renders previously floating around the Internet accurately detailed the new iPad Pro design. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Adieu, home button—Apple’s new iPad Pros have nearly edge-to-edge screens, FaceID," 30 Oct. 2018 Griffith even shared an Instagram video of the balloons floating over Malibu, but didn't specify the occasion. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Did Dakota Johnson and Chris Martin Just Host a Gender Reveal Party?," 8 Oct. 2018 Getty ImagesJulian Parker There are even pictures of Diana floating around the internet that show the late princess walking around in a purple Northwestern sweatshirt and white shorts, looking ready for a game day tailgate. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Princess Diana and Meghan Markle Both Spent Time at Northwesten University in Chicago," 8 Sep. 2018 Another scenario, recently floated by an investor and dismissed by the bank, envisaged a split of the retail operations from the investment bank and selling or merging the individual parts with other banks. Steven Arons, Bloomberg.com, "Why Deutsche Bank Can’t Just Shake Off Its Problems," 24 June 2018 Also, $20 billion in two-year floating-rate notes, dated Jan. 31, 2019, maturing Jan. 31, 2021. WSJ, "Treasury to Sell $240 Billion of Debt," 24 Jan. 2019 Issuing floating-rate notes and buybacks are among options that may be considered to rein in surging yields, the Financial Chronicle newspaper reported Monday, without citing anyone. Subhadip Sircar, Bloomberg.com, "India Seeks to Jump Start Debt Demand Again as Borrowings Loom," 18 June 2018 Some of the many names being floated include Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, Iraq War veteran James Mackler of Nashville and state Sen. Jeff Yarbro of Nashville. Jonathan Mattise, The Seattle Times, "GOP Sen. Alexander of Tennessee not seeking 2020 re-election," 17 Dec. 2018

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

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for float

Noun

Middle English flote boat, float, from Old English flota ship; akin to Old High German flōz raft, stream, Old English flēotan to float — more at fleet

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Learn More about float

Dictionary Entries near float

flivver

flix

flixweed

float

floatability

floatable

floatage

Statistics for float

Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for float

The first known use of float was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for float

float

noun

Financial Definition of float

What It Is

A company's float is an estimate of the number of outstanding shares available for the public to trade.

How It Works

Float, sometimes referred to as free float or "public" float, does not include restricted shares (shares owned by company officers, management, and other various insiders) because it's assumed that those shares are being held on a very long-term basis.

Float is generally described as all shares held by investors, other than restricted shares held by company insiders. The equation for float is very straightforward:

Float = Outstanding Shares - Restricted Shares

So if Company XYZ has 100 million shares outstanding, and 30 million are considered restricted shares, then the float would be the remaining 70 million shares available for trading (100 million - 30 million = 70 million).

Why It Matters

Looking at a company's float can be very helpful to prospective investors because it provides some insight into the stock's volatility. Stocks with small floats tend to be more volatile because there are only a limited number of shares that can be bought or sold in the event of major trading news. For the same reason, companies with larger floats tend to be less volatile.

Also, institutional investors usually prefer to invest in stocks with a large floats, since they can purchase or sell a significant number of shares without impacting the share price much.

Source: Investing Answers

float

noun

English Language Learners Definition of float

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a light object that is attached to a fishing line
: a floating platform near a shore for use by swimmers or boats
: a structure that holds up an airplane on water

float

verb

English Language Learners Definition of float (Entry 2 of 2)

: to rest on top of a liquid
: to be carried along by moving water or air
: to cause (something) to rest on top of a liquid : to cause (something) to float

float

noun
\ ˈflōt \

Kids Definition of float

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that rests in or on the surface of a liquid
2 : an inflated support for a person in water
3 : a light object that holds up the baited end of a fishing line
4 : a platform anchored near a shore for the use of swimmers or boats
5 : a structure that holds up an airplane in water
6 : a soft drink with ice cream floating in it a root beer float
7 : a vehicle with a platform used to carry an exhibit in a parade

float

verb
floated; floating

Kids Definition of float (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to rest on the surface of a liquid Cork floats in water.
2 : to be carried along by or as if by moving water or air The raft floated downstream. Leaves floated down.
3 : to cause to rest on or be carried by water Lumberjacks float logs down the river.

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float

noun

Legal Definition of float

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an amount of money represented by checks outstanding and in process of collection
2 : the time between a transaction (as the writing of a check or a purchase on credit) and the actual withdrawal of funds to cover it

Legal Definition of float (Entry 2 of 2)

of a currency : to find a level in the international exchange market in response to the law of supply and demand and without any restrictive effect of artificial support or control

transitive verb

1 : to place (an issue of securities) on the market
2 : to obtain money for the establishment or development of (an enterprise) by issuing and selling securities
3 : negotiate sense 1 float a loan

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More from Merriam-Webster on float

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with float

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for float

Spanish Central: Translation of float

Nglish: Translation of float for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of float for Arabic Speakers

Comments on float

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