n. & v.
1 a slow movement or variation. b such movement caused by a slow current.
2 the intention, meaning, scope, etc. of what is said etc. (didn't understand his drift).
3 a large mass of snow, sand, etc., accumulated by the wind.
4 esp. derog. a state of inaction.
5 a Naut. a ship's deviation from its course, due to currents. b Aeron. an aircraft's deviation due to side winds. c a projectile's deviation due to its rotation. d a controlled slide of a racing car etc.
6 Mining a horizontal passage following a mineral vein.
7 a large mass of esp. flowering plants (a drift of bluebells).
8 Geol. a material deposited by the wind, a current of water, etc. b (Drift) Pleistocene ice detritus, e.g. boulder clay.
9 the movement of cattle, esp. a gathering on an appointed day to determine ownership etc.
10 a tool for enlarging or shaping a hole in metal.
11 S.Afr. a ford.
1 intr. be carried by or as if by a current of air or water.
2 intr. move or progress passively, casually, or aimlessly (drifted into teaching).
3 a tr. & intr. pile or be piled by the wind into drifts. b tr. cover (a field, a road, etc.) with drifts.
4 tr. form or enlarge (a hole) with a drift.
5 tr. (of a current) carry.
Phrases and idioms:
drift-ice ice driven or deposited by water. drift-net a large net for herrings etc., allowed to drift with the tide.
driftage n.
Etymology: ME f. ON & MDu., MHG trift movement of cattle: rel. to DRIVE

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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