Definition of float verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//fləʊt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//floʊt//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they float
    BrE BrE//fləʊt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//floʊt//
    he / she / it floats
    BrE BrE//fləʊts//
    ; NAmE NAmE//floʊts//
    past simple floated
    BrE BrE//ˈfləʊtɪd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfloʊtɪd//
    past participle floated
    BrE BrE//ˈfləʊtɪd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfloʊtɪd//
    -ing form floating
    BrE BrE//ˈfləʊtɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfloʊtɪŋ//
    Economy, Travelling by boat or ship
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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 new 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. See related entries: Travelling by boat or ship
  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? See related entries: Travelling by boat or ship
  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 towns.
  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 increased 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 2014. Shares were floated at 585p. See related entries: Economy
  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. Word OriginOld English flotian (verb), of Germanic origin and related to fleet ‘move or pass quickly’, reinforced in Middle English by Old French floter, also from Germanic.Extra examples A few small clouds floated across the sky. Her voice seemed to float gently on the water. Her voice seemed to float on the water as gently as a slight mist. In the dream my feet leave the ground and I start to float upwards. The government decided to allow the peso to float freely. chunks of ice floating down the river pieces of wood floating in the water I dreamt that I was floating over the city. She floated down the steps to meet us. The couple floated across the dance floor. Vast masses of frogspawn floated just beneath the surface. We tried to make a raft but it wouldn’t float.Idioms
    float somebody’s boat
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    (informal) to be what somebody likes You can listen to whatever kind of music floats your boat.
    to feel very happy Most couples feel they are walking on air on their wedding day. See related entries: Happiness
    Phrasal Verbsfloat about
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: float