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[uh-floht] /əˈfloʊt/
adverb, adjective
floating or borne on the water; in a floating condition:
The ship was set afloat.
on board a ship, boat, raft, etc.; at sea:
cargo afloat and ashore.
covered with water; flooded; awash:
The main deck was afloat.
moving without being guided or controlled; drifting.
passing from place to place; in circulation:
A rumor is afloat.
free of major trouble, especially financially solvent:
to keep a venture afloat.
Origin of afloat
before 1000; Middle English, Old English on flote. See a-1, float
Related forms
half-afloat, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for afloat
  • We need more people today to keep labor costs down and pensions afloat, and we'll figure out how to feed them later.
  • The district, a little island of everywhere afloat in a thousand-year-old city, ends a few blocks away.
  • Even if you use heavy-duty aluminum foil, the surface tension of water will go a long way towards keeping the foil boats afloat.
  • He stood for a while, afloat in the dwindling stream of commuters flowing from the subway.
  • Lots of printed poetry magazines have only a few hundred subscribers and can barely stay afloat.
  • One might even say that the administrators have found a successful strategy to keep it afloat.
  • That, in turn, is important because such sources of revenue are all that's keeping state universities afloat.
  • Ten or so survivors get around the boat and clutch at its sides in an attempt to stay afloat.
  • The challenge for anyone in show business is keeping a career afloat after the public's attention has moved elsewhere.
  • Look under a chunk of plastic afloat in the ocean and you're likely to spot a fish or two.
British Dictionary definitions for afloat


adjective, adverb (postpositive)
aboard ship; at sea
covered with water; flooded
aimlessly drifting: afloat in a sea of indecision
in circulation; afoot: nasty rumours were afloat
free of debt; solvent
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 afloat

Old English aflote, on flot, from a- "on" (see a- (1)) + float (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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