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[floh] /floʊ/
Also called ice floe. a sheet of floating ice, chiefly on the surface of the sea, smaller than an ice field.
a detached floating portion of such a sheet.
Origin of floe
1810-20; perhaps < Norwegian flo layer (compare Old Norse flō layer, level); cognate with Old English flōh piece, flagstone; cf. flaw1
Can be confused
floe, flow (see synonym study at flow) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for floe
  • That's what happens when your lab sits on a melting ice floe.
  • Two of us sink the floe with our weight and slip it to one side beneath the ice.
  • Then a following ice floe snaps it half with the sound of a battleship gun.
  • They travel over frozen seas by dogsled and jump from ice floe to ice floe with their harpoons.
  • One was napping on a large ice floe that was being pushed south by the current.
  • Sometimes, when a walrus wants to rest while still in the water, it will hook its tusks over the edge of an ice floe.
  • The hull is of welded steel construction with structural reinforcing for operation in floe ice.
  • These seals are often seen at the edge of an ice floe and are prepared to slip into the water at the first sign of a polar bear.
  • She often will haul out onto the ice floe numerous times, sometimes allowing us another chance at catching her.
  • Tidewater that had been nearly frozen solid a week ago was now covered with floe ice.
British Dictionary definitions for floe


See ice floe
Word Origin
C19: probably from Norwegian flo slab, layer, from Old Norse; see flaw1
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 floe

1817, first used by Arctic explorers, probably from Norwegian flo "layer, slab," from Old Norse flo, related to first element in flagstone (q.v.). Earlier explorers used flake.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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floe in Science
A mass or sheet of floating ice.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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