Pronunciation: (flōt), [key]
1. to rest or remain on the surface of a liquid; be buoyant: The hollow ball floated.
2. to move gently on the surface of a liquid; drift along: The canoe floated downstream.
3. to rest or move in a liquid, the air, etc.: a balloon floating on high.
4. to move lightly and gracefully: She floated down the stairs.
5. to move or hover before the eyes or in the mind: Romantic visions floated before his eyes.
6. to pass from one person to another: A nasty rumor about his firm is floating around town.
7. to be free from attachment or involvement.
8. to move or drift about: to float from place to place.
9. to vacillate (often fol. by between).
10. to be launched, as a company, scheme, etc.
11. (of a currency) to be allowed to fluctuate freely in the foreign-exchange market instead of being exchanged at a fixed rate.
12. (of an interest rate) to change periodically according to money-market conditions.
13. be in circulation, as an acceptance; be awaiting maturity.

1. to cause to float.
2. to cover with water or other liquid; flood; irrigate.
3. to launch (a company, scheme, etc.); set going.
4. to issue on the stock market in order to raise money, as stocks or bonds.
5. to let (a currency or interest rate) fluctuate in the foreign-exchange or money market.
6. to make smooth with a float, as the surface of plaster.
7. lay down (a flat), usually by bracing the bottom edge of the frame with the foot and allowing the rest to fall slowly to the floor.

1. something that floats, as a raft.
2. something for buoying up.
3. an inflated bag to sustain a person in water; life preserver.
4. (in certain types of tanks, cisterns, etc.) a device, as a hollow ball, that through its buoyancy automatically regulates the level, supply, or outlet of a liquid.
5. Naut.a floating platform attached to a wharf, bank, or the like, and used as a landing.
6. Aeron.a hollow, boatlike structure under the wing or fuselage of a seaplane or flying boat, keeping it afloat in water.
7. Angling.a piece of cork or other material for supporting a baited line in the water and indicating by its movements when a fish bites.
8. inflated organ that supports an animal in the water.
9. a vehicle bearing a display, usually an elaborate tableau, in a parade or procession: Each class prepared a float for the football pageant.
10. a glass of fruit juice or soft drink with one or more scoops of ice cream floating in it: a root-beer float.
11. (esp. in the northeastern U.S.) a milk shake with one or more scoops of ice cream floating in it.
12. paddle1 (def. 6).
13. Banking.uncollected checks and commercial paper in process of transfer from bank to bank.
14. the total amount of any cost-of-living or other variable adjustments added to an employee's pay or a retiree's benefits: a float of $6 per month on top of Social Security benefits.
15. an act or instance of floating, as a currency on the foreign-exchange market.
16. Building Trades.
a. a flat tool for spreading and smoothing plaster or stucco.
b. a tool for polishing marble.
17. a single-cut file of moderate smoothness.
18. a loose-fitting, sometimes very full dress without a waistline.
19. (in weaving and knitting) a length of yarn that extends over several rows or stitches without being interworked.
20. Brit.a sum of money used by a storekeeper to provide change for the till at the start of a day's business.
21. Brit.a small vehicle, usually battery powered, used to make deliveries, as of milk.
22. a low-bodied dray for transporting heavy goods.
23. Geol., Mining.
a. loose fragments of rock, ore, etc., that have been moved from one place to another by the action of wind, water, etc.
b. ore that has been washed downhill from an orebody and is found lying on the surface of the ground.
c. any mineral in suspension in water.
24. Usually, floats. Brit. Theat.footlights.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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