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, 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

The whale was first spotted near Cape Cod in October, with gillnet fishing gear, including ropes and small floats, wrapped around its upper jaw, according to a Thursday statement from Provincetown’s Center for Coastal Studies. Elise Takahama, BostonGlobe.com, "Entangled whale spotted off Cape Cod in October is freed from nets in N.Y.," 14 July 2018 And in the shade of a tent that served free cola floats, voter registration clipboards were circulated among the new citizens, identifiable by their commemorative medals and tightly clutched American flags. Emily Cochrane, New York Times, "Immigrants Take Oath at Monticello, Feeling the Weight of the Past," 4 July 2018 Many floats represented cultural groups and organizations. Reis Thebault, Washington Post, "Fourth of July celebrations more meaningful, worrisome for some Americans," 4 July 2018 It's covered in air bladders and floats along the ocean surface, carrying with it small fish and other small marine animals. Jacob Sweet, miamiherald, "Lots of sun, and brown slimy seaweed, in the forecast for South Florida beaches," 3 July 2018 The floats and entrants will strive to illustrate the history of Fishers. John Tuohy, Indianapolis Star, "Speed-eating on menu at Spark!Fishers holiday weekend bash," 28 June 2018 The parade will begin at 11:20 a.m. July 4, and the Grand Marshall will lead 75 community groups, entertainers, floats and marching bands, according to the website. Alexandra Kukulka, chicagotribune.com, "Northbrook, Glenview make changes for Fourth of July celebrations," 26 June 2018 This was Houston's 40th Pride celebration and over 700,000 are said to have packed into downtown to see the colorful floats and costumes that have made the parade a staple of the Houston social calendar. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Pride-ful: Here's how Houston partied this weekend," 25 June 2018 Eighty floats and tens of thousands of marchers were expected. Washington Post, "Celebration, defiance mix at New York City gay pride parade," 24 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Environmental experts estimates that 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating in the ocean, harming ecosystems and animals. Lorraine Mirabella, baltimoresun.com, "More eateries, businesses do away with plastic straws," 13 July 2018 Amanda was this woman who had come to a new town, and there was another woman around who was sort of floating in the ether, looking out for her in different incarnations. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Sarah Paulson Is the Ultimate Prada Fan—She Proves It with a Star Turn in the Brand’s New Film," 13 July 2018 Just float on and let the seas be parted for you, not against you. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Weekly Horoscopes July 16-22," 13 July 2018 Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim, who is challenging Galvin in a Democratic primary this year, also floated the potential of using the University of Massachusetts system and community colleges to register students. Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, "Senate unanimously backs automatic voter registration; bill may reach governor soon," 13 July 2018 Pocan first floated the idea of introducing the bill late last month after visiting the U.S.-Mexico border. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "House Democrats Refuse to Take Bait on ‘Abolish ICE’ Vote Arranged by GOP," 13 July 2018 Hoping after last year’s hurricanes, the rental abode isn’t floating offshore somewhere near the Azores. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Paul Daugherty's Morning Line: Cincinnati Reds need the off day, and other MLB thoughts," 12 July 2018 Just off Orion’s left shoulder, 3.8 billion light-years away, floats a galaxy that is being sucked into a supermassive black hole. Ian Haydon, Philly.com, "For the first time, scientists harness 'ghost particles' to study the universe and its black holes," 12 July 2018 Jordan has floated a possible bid for Republican House speaker. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Meet the Democrat trying to unseat scandal-plagued Rep. Jim Jordan in his heavily Republican district," 11 July 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

Phrases Related to float

floating on air

milk float

Statistics for float

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

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

verb

English Language Learners Definition of float

: 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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Comments on float

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