float - definition and synonyms


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present tense
present participlefloating
past tensefloated
past participlefloated
  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
  8. 8
    [intransitive] informal if something such as an idea floats, it is successful or accepted
  9. 9
    [intransitive/transitive] economics if a government floats its currency, its value is allowed to change in relation to other currencies
  10. 10
    [transitive] mainly journalism to kick or hit a ball so that it moves slowly through the air
  11.   From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    float an idea to come up with an idea

    American president Donald Trump floated the idea of adding solar panels to his proposed barrier along the the US–Mexico border.

    Submitted by Boris Marchenko from Russian Federation on 08/06/2017
  12.   From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    to file a horse's teeth flatSubmitted from United Kingdom on 18/09/2010

phrasal verbs