float

1 of 2

noun

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
6
a
: 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

2 of 2

verb

floated; floating; floats

intransitive verb

1
: to rest on the surface of or be suspended in a fluid
2
a
: 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

1
a
: 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
4
a
: 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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Amenities will include indoor/outdoor treatment rooms, water therapy, float tank, acupuncture, skincare, body therapies, fitness classes, yoga, and more. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 18 Mar. 2024 Wear a visible hat, take a tow float and consider a thermal wet suit for buoyancy. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 14 Mar. 2024 Once it’s returned to the water, an olm that has swallowed air floats on the surface like a pool noodle and can’t swim properly. Elizabeth Anne Brown, New York Times, 12 Mar. 2024 Today the city must settle for bringing floats and participants over from the other side. USA TODAY, 29 Feb. 2024 Observations from various ocean measurement devices, including conductivity-temperature-depth instruments (CTDs), Argo profiling floats, and eXpendable BathyThermographs. Li Cohen, CBS News, 28 Feb. 2024 The canoes may also have been outfitted with sails, outriggers or support floats, the study suggests. Christian Thorsberg, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Mar. 2024 Vent steam: Carefully turn steam release handle to VENTING position, and let steam fully escape (float valve will drop). Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 11 Mar. 2024 The floats will be judged by a panel of judges, with a winner crowned at the end of the parade. Detroit Free Press, 10 Mar. 2024
Verb
Keegan Murray grabbed the rebound, but Hauser poked it out of his hands, right to Tillman, who drove the lane and floated the game winner home. Chris Biderman, Sacramento Bee, 6 Apr. 2024 Johnson has also floated other ideas, like bringing up Ukraine aid in exchange for President Biden reversing a moratorium on natural gas export permitting, or allowing the sale of frozen assets of Russian oligarchs. Kaia Hubbard, CBS News, 5 Apr. 2024 After Republicans introduced the legislation to name the airport located outside the nation's capital after Trump, Connolly floated renaming a prison after Trump. Lauren Peller, ABC News, 5 Apr. 2024 His name was floated for several openings over the last month, from Louisville to Michigan to DePaul. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2024 In 2019, the university floated ideas of raising the cross walks and adding pedestrian refuge islands. Harrison Mantas, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 3 Apr. 2024 During Wednesday’s discussion, Suarez floated another assistant city manager, Mark Taxis, as an option for the interim manager role to give Williams the option to apply for the permanent position. Aaron Leibowitz, Miami Herald, 3 Apr. 2024 This means the thought of floating down the Rhine on a 12-day river cruise while locked in with a static set of human beings has all the makings of me losing my mind. Sherry Kuehl, Kansas City Star, 3 Apr. 2024 Teachers get help from 10 paraprofessionals who float around the school's 17 classrooms. Rory Linnane, Journal Sentinel, 25 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'float.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near float

Cite this Entry

“Float.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/float. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

float

1 of 2 noun
1
: an act or instance of floating
2
: something that floats: as
a
: a device (as a cork) that holds 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 controls the flow or level of the liquid it floats on (as in a tank)
d
: a watertight structure that holds up an airplane on water
3
: a vehicle with a platform used to carry an exhibit in a parade
also : the vehicle and exhibit together
4
: a drink consisting of ice cream floating in a beverage

float

2 of 2 verb
1
: to rest on the surface of a fluid
2
: to drift on or through or as if on or through a fluid
dust floating through the air
3
: to cause to float
float logs down a river
floater noun

Legal Definition

float

1 of 2 noun
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

float

2 of 2 intransitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on float

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