Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

float

 - definition
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
verb British English pronunciation: float /fləʊt/ 
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theyfloat
he/she/itfloats
present participlefloating
past tensefloated
past participlefloated

Related dictionary definitions

 
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to rest or move slowly on the surface of a liquid and not sink

    Their raft would not float.

    float on/in:

    Leaves and twigs floated on the water.

    float by/along/towards etc:

    Miranda floated by on her back.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to place something or make it move on the surface of a liquid

      They were floating little paper boats on the lake.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to be lighter than air, and to move slowly through it
    float in/through/across/over etc:

    Bubbles floated in the air.

    A cloud floated across the moon.

  3. 3
    [intransitive] if a sound or smell floats somewhere, it moves through the air so that it can be heard or smelt in different places
    float up/down/across/through etc:

    Music floated up from the garden.

    Perfume floated around her.

  4. 4
    [intransitive] to move in a very soft and graceful way
    float down/up/across etc:

    Fabia floated down the stairs in a long white dress.

  5. 5
    [intransitive] to behave in a way that shows you do not have a clear plan for what you want to do

    She just sort of floats through life.

  6. 6
    [transitive] business to start to sell a company's shares on the stock market

    The company was floated in 1993.

  7. 7
    [transitive] to suggest an idea for people to consider to see how they will react

    Various explanations for his resignation are being floated.

  8. 8
    [intransitive] informal if something such as an idea floats, it is successful or accepted

    Old TV shows refurbished as films rarely float.

phrasal verbs

Word of the Day

stargazer

someone who studies the stars

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog