Synonyms & Antonyms of drift

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 to move or proceed smoothly and readily
  • casual conversation drifting from one topic to another

Synonyms for drift

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Antonyms for drift

2 to rest or move along the surface of a liquid or in the air
  • the boat drifted along on the current

Synonyms for drift

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Antonyms for drift

3 to move about from place to place aimlessly
  • spent several years drifting from town to town, picking up odd jobs whenever he needed cash

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Synonyms of drift (Entry 2 of 2)

1 a pile or ridge of granular matter (as sand or snow)
  • deep drifts of snow blocked our driveway

Synonyms for drift

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2 a prevailing or general movement or inclination
  • the steady drift of the population away from large cities

Synonyms for drift

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3 the idea that is conveyed or intended to be conveyed to the mind by language, symbol, or action
  • you should expect a visit from the stork, if you get my drift

Synonyms for drift

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About drift

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

Learn More About drift

Time Traveler for drift

Time Traveler

The first known use of drift was in the 14th century

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Thesaurus Entries Near drift

dries up



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Cite this Entry

“Drift.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on drift

Nglish: Translation of drift for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of drift for Arabic Speakers


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