American English

Definition of float verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they float
    he / she / it floats
    past simple floated
    -ing form floating
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    on water/in air
  1. 1[intransitive] + adv./prep. to move slowly on water or in the air synonym drift A group of swans floated by. The smell of freshly baked bread floated up from the kitchen. Beautiful music came floating out of the window. The boats were floating gently down the river. (figurative) An idea suddenly floated into my mind. (figurative) People seem to float in and out of my life.
  2. 2[intransitive] to stay on or near the surface of a liquid and not sink Wood floats. float in/on something A plastic bag was floating in the water. Can you float on your back?
  3. 3[transitive] to make something move on or near the surface of a liquid float something There wasn't enough water to float the ship. float something + adv./prep. They float the logs down the river to the sawmill.
  4. walk lightly
  5. 4[intransitive] + adv./prep. (literary) to walk or move in a smooth and easy way synonym glide She floated down the steps to greet us.
  6. suggest idea
  7. 5[transitive] float something to suggest an idea or a plan for other people to consider They floated the idea of increasing taxes on alcohol.
  8. business/economics
  9. 6[transitive] float something (business) to sell shares in a company or business to the public for the first time The company was floated on the stock market in 2007. Shares were floated at $35.00.
  10. 7[transitive, intransitive] float (something) (economics) if a government floats its country's money or allows it to float, it allows its value to change freely according to the value of the money of other countries
  11. Idioms
    float somebody's boat (informal)
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    to be what someone likes You can listen to whatever kind of music floats your boat.
    float/walk on air
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    to feel very happy Most couples feel like they are walking on air on their wedding day.
    Phrasal Verbsfloat around
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: float