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buoy

[boo-ee, boi] /ˈbu i, bɔɪ/
noun
1.
Nautical. a distinctively shaped and marked float, sometimes carrying a signal or signals, anchored to mark a channel, anchorage, navigational hazard, etc., or to provide a mooring place away from the shore.
2.
verb (used with object)
3.
to keep afloat or support by or as if by a life buoy; keep from sinking (often followed by up):
The life jacket buoyed her up until help arrived.
4.
Nautical. to mark with a buoy or buoys.
5.
to sustain or encourage (often followed by up):
Her courage was buoyed by the doctor's assurances.
verb (used without object)
6.
to float or rise by reason of lightness.
Origin
late Middle English
1425-1475
1425-75; late Middle English boye a float < Middle French *boie, boue(e) < Germanic; akin to beacon
Related forms
unbuoyed, adjective
Can be confused
boy, buoy.
Synonyms
5. lift, uplift, boost, lighten; maintain, nurture.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for buoys
  • He suggested hanging buoys, yacht pennants, and old lighthouse lanterns to telegraph nautical charm.
  • The yards aren't cluttered with traps, buoys and other gear, the way they used to be.
  • Governments unwittingly help out by providing data online from wave buoys.
  • The musicians are terrific, and it always buoys me to see these youngsters playing so brilliantly.
  • buoys are often equipped with signals canyon: noun: deep, narrow valley with steep sides.
  • Other data come from commercial airplanes, ships at sea and ocean buoys.
  • Other whale sounds are recorded using underwater microphones-called hydrophones-affixed to buoys or boats.
  • The trend in yachting these days is to build fast, lightweight sailboats that compete in day races around inshore buoys.
  • The trawl is a series of traps strung together and connected to buoys.
  • Water skiing is allowed in two zones marked with buoys.
British Dictionary definitions for buoys

buoy

/bɔɪ; US ˈbuːɪ/
noun
1.
a distinctively shaped and coloured float, anchored to the bottom, for designating moorings, navigable channels, or obstructions in a body of water See also life buoy
verb
2.
(transitive) usually foll by up. to prevent from sinking: the belt buoyed him up
3.
(transitive) usually foll by up. to raise the spirits of; hearten
4.
(transitive) (nautical) to mark (a channel or obstruction) with a buoy or buoys
5.
(intransitive) to rise to the surface
Word Origin
C13: probably of Germanic origin; compare Middle Dutch boeie, boeye; see beacon
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 buoys

buoy

n.

late 13c., perhaps from either Old French buie or Middle Dutch boeye, both from West Germanic *baukna "beacon, signal" (see beacon). OED, however, supports Middle Dutch boeie, or Old French boie "fetter, chain" (see boy), "because of its being fettered to a spot."

v.

late 16c., "to mark with a buoy," from buoy (n.). Meaning "rise up, lift, sustain" is from c.1600, perhaps influenced by Spanish boyar "to float," ultimately from the same source. In the figurative sense (of hopes, spirits, etc.) it is recorded from 1640s. Related: Buoyed; buoying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for buoys

buoy

floating object anchored at a definite location to guide or warn mariners, to mark positions of submerged objects, or to moor vessels in lieu of anchoring. Two international buoyage systems are used to mark channels and submerged dangers. In both systems, buoys of standardized colours and shapes indicate safe passageways. Special-purpose buoys are designed for a variety of uses; they include cable buoys, anchor buoys, or race buoys. A mooring buoy differs from other types in not being an aid to navigation but a point to which vessels may be tied up. Secured to a permanent group of anchors by a heavy chain, such a buoy serves as a connecting link between the vessel and the anchors. The use of mooring buoys conserves space in crowded harbours because a moored vessel requires less room to swing with the wind and tide than does a vessel at anchor

Learn more about buoy with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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