I. noun Etymology: Middle English flote boat, float, from Old English flota ship; akin to Old High German flōz raft, stream, Old English flēotan to float — more at fleet Date: before 12th century 1. an act or instance of floating 2. something that floats in or on the surface of a fluid: as a. a device (as a cork) buoying up the baited end of a fishing line b. a floating platform anchored near a shoreline for use by swimmers or boats c. a hollow ball that floats at the end of a lever in a cistern, tank, or boiler and regulates the liquid level d. a sac containing air or gas and buoying up the body of a plant or animal e. a watertight structure giving an airplane buoyancy on water 3. a tool or apparatus for smoothing a surface (as of wet concrete) 4. a government grant of a fixed amount of land not yet located by survey out of a larger specific tract 5. a vehicle with a platform used to carry an exhibit in a parade; also the vehicle and exhibit together 6. a. an amount of money represented by checks outstanding and in process of collection b. the time between a transaction (as the writing of a check or a purchase on credit) and the actual withdrawal of funds to cover it c. the volume of a company's shares available for active trading in the auction market 7. a soft drink with ice cream floating in it II. verb Date: before 12th century intransitive verb 1. to rest on the surface of or be suspended in a fluid 2. a. to drift on or through or as if on or through a fluid <
yellow leaves floated down
b. wander 3. of a currency to find a level in the international exchange market in response to the law of supply and demand and without any restrictive effect of artificial support or control transitive verb 1. a. to cause to float in or on the surface of a fluid b. to cause to float as if in a fluid 2. flood <
float a cranberry bog
3. to smooth (as plaster or cement) with a float 4. a. to put forth (as a proposal) for acceptance b. to place (an issue of securities) on the market c. to obtain money for the establishment or development of (an enterprise) by issuing and selling securities d. negotiate <
float a loan

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.