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[floh-tey-shuh n] /floʊˈteɪ ʃən/
an act or state of floating.
the launching of a commercial venture, bond issue, loan, etc.
Metallurgy. a process for separating the different minerals in a mass of powdered ore based on their tendency to sink in, or float on, a given liquid.
the science of floating bodies.
Also, floatation.
Origin of flotation
1800-10; float + -ation; compare French flottaison (see flotsam) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for flotation
  • Machines grind the plastics into flakes and immerse them in a flotation tank to remove contaminants.
  • We recommend using a personal flotation device while boating.
  • We backstroke across these ponds, using the dry bags in our backpacks for flotation.
  • The workers are performing flotation, which isn't as refreshing as it sounds.
  • These would later be replaced by a permanent flotation system.
  • Its flotation was entirely dependent on whether the bilge pump could keep up with the leakage.
  • If you are not comfortable swimming in open water, get a flotation belt to help while you snorkel.
  • Fishing permits, a boat and personal flotation devices are included in the rental price.
  • The only difference is you have to get your flotation devices somewhere else and then walk or drive to the river itself.
  • Though you need to know how to swim to snorkel, you can rent a flotation vest for safety.
British Dictionary definitions for flotation


  1. the launching or financing of a commercial enterprise by bond or share issues
  2. the raising of a loan or new capital by bond or share issues
power or ability to float; buoyancy
Also called froth flotation. a process to concentrate the valuable ore in low-grade ores. The ore is ground to a powder, mixed with water containing surface-active chemicals, and vigorously aerated. The bubbles formed trap the required ore fragments and carry them to the surface froth, which is then skimmed off
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 flotation

1850s, from float (v.) + -ation. Spelling influenced by French (cf. floatation).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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flotation in Medicine

flotation flo·ta·tion (flō-tā'shən)
The process of separating different materials, especially minerals, by agitating a pulverized mixture of the materials with water, oil, and chemicals. Differential wetting of the suspended particles causes unwetted particles to be carried by air bubbles to the surface for collection.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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