Language: Old English
Origin: flotian


1 verb

on water

a) [intransitive] to stay or move on the surface of a liquid without sinking:
I wasn't sure if the raft would float.
She spent the afternoon floating on her back in the pool.
float along/down/past etc
A couple of broken branches floated past us.
b) [transitive] to put something on the surface of a liquid so that it does not sink:
The logs are trimmed and then floated down the river.

in the air

[intransitive always + adverb/preposition] if something floats, it moves slowly through the air or stays up in the air:
I looked up at the clouds floating in the sky.
Leaves floated gently down from the trees.

music/sounds/smells etc

[intransitive always + adverb/preposition] if sounds or smells float somewhere, people in another place can hear or smell them:
The sound of her voice came floating down from an upstairs window.

walk gracefully

[intransitive] to walk in a slow light graceful way [= glide]:
Rachel floated around the bedroom in a lace nightgown.


[transitive] to suggest an idea or plan in order to see if people like it:
We first floated the idea back in 1992.


[ transitive] technicalPEC if the government of a country floats its money, the value of the money is allowed to change freely in relation to money from other countries:
Russia decided to float the rouble on the foreign exchange market.


[transitive]BFS to sell shares in a company or business to the public for the first time
float something on something
The company will be floated on the stockmarket next year.
flotation (1)


[transitive] American English to write a cheque when you do not have enough money in the bank to pay it

float around

phrasal verb
to be present in a place:
There's a lot of cash floating around in the economy at the moment.

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