Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Origin: Probably from Old Norse drift 'pile of wind-blown snow'; related to drive


2 noun
Related topics: Nature, Water


[countable]DN a large pile of snow or sand that has been blown by the wind
drift of
The road is blocked with massive drifts of snow.
a snow drift


[singular] a slow change or development from one situation, opinion etc to another
drift towards/to
a drift towards longer working hours

movement of people

[singular, uncountable] a slow movement of large numbers of people that has not been planned
drift from/to/into
the drift from the countryside to the cities

the drift (of something)

the general meaning of what someone is saying:
So what's the drift of the argument?
follow/get/catch somebody's drift (=understand the general meaning of what someone is saying)
She didn't quite get my drift, did she?


[uncountable]TTW the movement of a ship or plane from its original direction because of the movement of the wind or water

slow movement

[uncountable] very slow movement, especially over water or through the air

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