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[raft, rahft] /ræft, rɑft/
a more or less rigid floating platform made of buoyant material or materials:
an inflatable rubber raft.
a collection of logs, planks, casks, etc., fastened together for floating on water.
a slab of reinforced concrete providing a footing on yielding soil, usually for a whole building, so that the weight of the soil that would be displaced by the settlement of the building exceeds the weight of the building itself; mat.
verb (used with object)
to transport on a raft.
to form (logs or the like) into a raft.
to travel or cross by raft.
(of an ice floe) to transport (embedded organic or rock debris) from the shore out to sea.
verb (used without object)
to use a raft; go or travel on a raft.
(of an ice floe) to overlap another ice floe.
Origin of raft1
1250-1300; Middle English rafte, perhaps < Old Norse raptr rafter1


[raft, rahft] /ræft, rɑft/
noun, Informal.
a great quantity; a lot:
a raft of trouble.
1825-35; variant of raff large number (Middle English: abundance) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for raft
  • He then boarded the last slide raft, and before long climbed onto a rescue boat.
  • Try a no-skills-required raft race or a kayak clinic.
  • The conference also dealt with challenges facing the raft of new indigenous universities across the region.
  • The area is quiet and remote and offers canoe and raft rentals for visitors.
  • Swimming to an emergency life raft that had opened with his jump, he waited to be rescued.
  • Posterity tends to give novelists a longer ride on one or two big books than on a raft of smaller ones.
  • Natives pay no taxes and receive a raft of goodies from the government, from marriage bonuses to free health care to easy credit.
  • And a raft of genetic diseases have been turning up in a variety of dog breeds.
  • However, if you want to prevent getting a raft of payday loans to pay for treatment prevention is easy.
  • The resulting two-layer raft is cohesive, buoyant and water-repellent.
British Dictionary definitions for raft


a buoyant platform of logs, planks, etc, used as a vessel or moored platform
a thick slab of reinforced concrete laid over soft ground to provide a foundation for a building
to convey on or travel by raft, or make a raft from
Derived Forms
rafting, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old Norse raptrrafter


(informal) a large collection or amount: a raft of old notebooks discovered in a cupboard
Word Origin
C19: from raff
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 raft

"floating platform," late 15c., originally "rafter" (c.1300), from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse raptr "log" (Old Norse -pt- pronounced as -ft-), related to Middle Low German rafter, rachter "rafter" (see rafter).

"large collection," 1830, variant of raff "heap, large amount," from Middle English raf (cf. raffish, riffraff); form and sense associated with raft (n.1).


1680s, from raft (n.1). Related: Rafted; rafting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for raft



A large number; oodles, slew: I have rafts of reasons for not doing that

[1833+; fr earlier uses of raft to mean a dense flight of waterfowl, a mass of logs in a river, etc]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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