A volleyball serve, similar to a knuckleball pitch in baseball. The ball moves unpredictably, possibly swerving or dropping suddenly.

This server can be performed either overhand or underhand. The advantage of an overhand serve is that more power can be applied, since there is no upward component to the initial trajectory. One advantage of the underhand serve is that it requires less strength; another is that opponents almost always underestimate underhand serves (since it is usually one of the first things to go when transitioning from novice to intermediate play).

The key to performing a floater serve is to remove almost all spin from the ball. Strike the ball flat with a stiff wrist and do not follow through with the serve. If serving underhand, for example, the striking hand should not follow past the hand holding the ball.

The erratic trajectory of the floater is caused by air turbulence. The seams in the surface of the volleyball create turbulence in the air, and this turbulence produces low-pressure regions around the ball, especially in its wake. The irregular pressure causes the ball to deviate from a smooth path. If the ball were completely without spin with respect to its trajectory, the trajectory would also be smooth, but this is nearly impossible; hence, the inevitable slight spin causes the erratic movement. A fast spin, on the other hand, causes the turbulence to be "averaged out", leading to a smooth flight.

A "floater" is also a dead person who has been thrown into, and subsequently found in, a river.

This term is popular in detective novels and books about hard-nosed cops in New York.

Example: "I got to the office, only spilling my cup of god-awful instant coffee once. As soon as I got in Larry looked over and tilted his head in my direction.

'We got 'nother floater for you, Sarge'.

Great. Just what I needed when my in-tray was overflowing. A body, no leads, no perp in the cell. I needed a drink".

A rock band from Portland, Oregon, featuring frontman Rob Wynia on bass, Dave Amador on guitar, and Pete Cornett on drums. Floater's mind-bending sound is alternately heavy and poignant. They oft appear at the WOW Hall in Eugene, Oregon, and the Crystal Ballroom in Portland. Ttheir live shows , where 5-minute album tracks become eleven-minute epics, are the stuff of legend.

(out-of-date) Discography

Sink (1994)

Glyph (1995)

Angels in the Flesh and Devils in the Bone (1998)

The Great Release (live) (1999)

Burning Sosobra (2000)

Alter (2002)

A floater is also the term I was taught for the little bits of matter that seem to float past my (ones) eyeballs. This has something to do with little bits of matter that slide down my eyeballs (or between my retina and cornea or what have you). If you have this condition you know what I am talking about, they really do seem to float like they were suspended in liquid. Rapid eye movement tends to cause them to dance around randomly. Someone once told me that it meant that at some point in my life I will go blind. I guess I should check into that but it's all to creepy to contemplate. Does any one care to hook a brother up with the technical term?

Not a technical term, but more scientifical than mine: Attack of the Squiggly Floaters

A surfing maneuver where the surfer get a lot of speed, then rides up onto the top of the curtain of a breaking wave, or onto the the top of the already-broken whitewash. The rider "floats" across the top of the curtain/whitewash, until gravity brings them back down onto the flat-water level again.

A plastic cup full of ice floating in a pitcher of beer, keeping the beer as cold as possilbe. Floaters are only used in the summer in bars without air conditioning, by patrons who are drinking slowly enough to worry about their pitcher of beer getting warm. Thus they are fairly rare.

You have to be careful about the size of the cup, the amount of ice in it, how you place the floater, and holding it while pouring beer, to ensure that it doesn't become a sinker and fill your pitcher of beer with ice.

A floater is also a meal enjoyed in certain parts of Australia (Victoria and South Australia I believe). It consists of a meat pie floating in a bowl of pea soup.

Aside from the toilet-esque connotations this word may have for the post-Al Bundy American public, it also has a frequent use in the North American freight graffiti 'scene'.

The term floater refers to a piece on a freight car that does not extend to the very bottom of the car. From about 1999-2000 there seemed to be a sort of negative stigma attached to the 'floater' for a lot of freight purists because one of the main motivations behind not going right to the bottom seemed to be "fear of the bar".

That is to say: floaters were/are (?) looked down upon because they seem like a cop out. Rather than going all the way down to the bottom, and dealing with the (sometimes) difficult obstacle that the 'bar' on a boxcar presents, unskilled or lazy writers avoided the bar altogether.

But, of course, this opinion is not that widespread, and is not universally applicable in any case. For instance: at many factory layups, people are forced to paint floaters because there is a loading dock covering the lower half of the train. In addition to this pragmatic concern there are also stylistic reasons behind the 'floater'. For instance, one might want to integrate one's piece with a particular section of the car one is painting (the company logo, etc.).

The idea that a 'floater' is inherently evidence of a poor writer is a flawed one, and it is easy to spot the difference between someone who floats because they have to and someone who floats because they chose to.

Float"er (?), n.


One who floats or swims.


A float for indicating the height of a liquid surface.


© Webster 1913

Float"er. (Politics)


A voter who shifts from party to party, esp. one whose vote is purchasable. [U. S.]


A person, as a delegate to a convention or a member of a legislature, who represents an irregular constituency, as one formed by a union of the voters of two counties neither of which has a number sufficient to be allowed a (or an extra) representative of its own. [U. S.]


A person who votes illegally in various polling places or election districts, either under false registration made by himself or under the name of some properly registered person who has not already voted. [U. S.]


© Webster 1913

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