American English

Definition of drift verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they drift
    he / she / it drifts
    past simple drifted
    -ing form drifting
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    move slowly
  1. 1[intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) to move along smoothly and slowly in water or air Clouds drifted across the sky. The empty boat drifted out to sea. A cool breeze drifted through the open window. Smoke drifted across the room.
  2. 2[intransitive] + adv./prep. to move or go somewhere slowly The crowd drifted away from the scene of the accident. Her gaze drifted around the room. People began to drift back to their houses.
  3. without purpose
  4. 3[intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) to happen or change, or to do something without a particular plan or purpose I didn't intend to be a teacher—I just drifted into it. He hasn't decided what to do yet—he's just drifting. The conversation drifted onto politics.
  5. into state/situation
  6. 4[intransitive] drift in/into something to go from one situation or state to another without realizing it Finally she drifted into sleep. The injured man tried to speak but soon drifted into unconsciousness.
  7. of snow/sand
  8. 5[intransitive] to be blown into large piles by the wind drifting sand Some roads are closed because of drifting.
  9. float
  10. 6[transitive] + adv./prep. to make something float somewhere The logs are drifted downstream to the mill.
  11. Phrasal Verbsdrift apartdrift off (to sleep)
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: drift