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[uh-drift] /əˈdrɪft/
adjective, adverb
floating without control; drifting; not anchored or moored:
The survivors were adrift in the rowboat for three days.
lacking aim, direction, or stability.
Origin of adrift
1615-25; a-1 + drift Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for adrift
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The muskrat is adrift, but not homeless; his range is vastly extended, and he evidently rejoices in full streams.

    A Year in the Fields John Burroughs
  • He secured a bird or fish to a piece of wood, and then turned it adrift on the river.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
  • For more than a year Dory had felt as though he were all adrift in the world.

    All Adrift Oliver Optic
  • Send her adrift some fine day I suppose, down the Rivire du Loup.

    The Golden Dog William Kirby
  • My greatest concern had been lest some of the sails should get adrift, for they had been furled by few and fatigued men.

    Miles Wallingford James Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for adrift


adjective, adverb (postpositive)
floating without steering or mooring; drifting
without purpose; aimless
(informal) off course or amiss: the project went adrift
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for adrift

1620s, from a- (1) "on" + drift. Figurative use by 1680s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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