v. & n.
1 intr. & tr. a rest or move or cause (a buoyant object) to rest or move on the surface of a liquid without sinking. b get afloat or set (a stranded ship) afloat.
2 intr. move with a liquid or current of air; drift (the clouds floated high up).
3 intr. colloq. a move in a leisurely or casual way (floated about humming quietly). b (often foll. by before) hover before the eye or mind (the prospect of lunch floated before them).
4 intr. (often foll. by in) move or be suspended freely in a liquid or a gas.
5 tr. a bring (a company, scheme, etc.) into being; launch. b offer (stock, shares, etc.) on the stock market.
6 Commerce a intr. (of currency) be allowed to have a fluctuating exchange rate. b tr. cause (currency) to float. c intr. (of an acceptance) be in circulation.
7 tr. (of water etc.) support; bear along (a buoyant object).
8 intr. & tr. circulate or cause (a rumour or idea) to circulate.
9 tr. waft (a buoyant object) through the air.
10 tr. archaic cover with liquid; inundate.
1 a thing that floats, esp.: a a raft. b a cork or quill on a fishing-line as an indicator of a fish biting. c a cork supporting the edge of a fishing-net. d the hollow or inflated part or organ supporting a fish etc. in the water; an air bladder. e a hollow structure fixed underneath an aircraft enabling it to float on water. f a floating device on the surface of water, petrol, etc., controlling the flow.
2 a small vehicle or cart, esp. one powered by electricity (milk float).
3 a platform mounted on a lorry and carrying a display in a procession etc.
4 a a sum of money used at the beginning of a period of selling in a shop, a fecircte, etc. to provide change. b a small sum of money for minor expenditure; petty cash.
5 Theatr. (in sing. or pl.) footlights.
6 a tool used for smoothing plaster.
Phrases and idioms:
float-board one of the boards of a water-wheel or paddle-wheel. float glass a kind of glass made by drawing the molten glass continuously on to a surface of molten metal for hardening. float process the process used to make float glass. float-stone a light, porous stone that floats.
floatable adj. floatability n.
Etymology: OE flot, flotian float, OE flota ship, ON flota, floti rel. to FLEET(5): in ME infl. by OF floter

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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