9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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 floes
  • We stopped to view the polar bears who apparently were spending the summer there awaiting the return of the ice floes in the fall.
  • Describes the difficulty of traversing the ice floes.
  • Sights include high mountain peaks, glaciers and ice floes.
  • He paddled the rest of the way, neatly parrying the ice floes that guarded the island.
  • They spend their time atop coastal ice floes, eating ice and diving for fish.
  • As the ice broke up with the spring thaw, they were forced to jump over cracks and between unstable ice floes.
  • Part of the trip is over crumbling ice-floes and mountains of snow.
  • Lugging the great airplane across the ice floes is in itself a remarkable undertaking.
  • The ice at the pole was about the same as on the journey up, all rafted in between with small floes.
  • Soon the ice floes had trapped, then crushed, the ships and there was no escape.
British Dictionary definitions for floes


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 floes



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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floes 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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