drift 1 of 2

drift

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noun

Synonym Chooser

How is the word drift different from other nouns like it?

Some common synonyms of drift are current, tendency, tenor, and trend. While all these words mean "movement in a particular direction," drift may apply to a tendency determined by external forces, or it may apply to an underlying or obscure trend of meaning or discourse.

the drift of the population away from large cities
got the drift of her argument

When could current be used to replace drift?

The words current and drift can be used in similar contexts, but current implies a clearly defined but not necessarily unalterable course.

an encounter that changed the current of my life

When would tendency be a good substitute for drift?

The words tendency and drift are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, tendency implies an inclination sometimes amounting to an impelling force.

a general tendency toward inflation

Where would tenor be a reasonable alternative to drift?

Although the words tenor and drift have much in common, tenor stresses a clearly perceptible direction and a continuous, undeviating course.

the tenor of the times

When can trend be used instead of drift?

The synonyms trend and drift are sometimes interchangeable, but trend applies to the general direction maintained by a winding or irregular course.

the long-term trend of the stock market is upward

Thesaurus Entries Near drift

Cite this Entry

“Drift.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/drift. Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

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