1

float

noun \ ˈflōt \
Updated on: 19 Nov 2017

Definition of float

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

Examples of float in a Sentence

  1. We are building a float for the homecoming parade.

  2. the crew put the cargo on the float before heading back down the river

Recent Examples of float from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of float

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

float Synonyms


2

float

verb

Definition of float

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

  1. She was floating on her back.

  2. ice floating in the river

  3. Will this material sink or float?

  4. dust floating through the air

  5. The incoming tide will eventually float the ship off the reef.

  6. They floated the logs down the river.

  7. She floated gracefully across the stage.

  8. His voice floated to the back of the room.

Recent Examples of float from the Web

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.

First Known Use of float

before 12th century

float Synonyms

Synonyms
drift, glide, hang, hover, poise, ride, sail, swim, waft
Antonyms
settle, sink
Related Words
bob, dangle, suspend; buoy; balloon, raft
Near Antonyms
dive, lunge, plunge; dip, immerse, submerge, submerse

Financial Definition of FLOAT

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.



FLOAT Defined for English Language Learners

float

verb

Definition of float for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

float

noun \ ˈflōt \

Definition of float for Students

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

2

float

verb

Definition of float for Students

floated; floating
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.

Law Dictionary

1

float

noun

legal Definition of float

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

2

float

intransitive verb

legal Definition of float

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 1
  • float a loan


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