Float (?), n.[OE. flote ship, boat, fleet, AS. flota ship, fr. fleotan to float; akin to D. vloot fleet, G. floss raft, Icel. floti float, raft, fleet, Sw. flotta. &root; 84. See Fleet, v. i., and cf. Flotilla, Flotsam, Plover.]


Anything which floats or rests on the surface of a fluid, as to sustain weight, or to indicate the height of the surface, or mark the place of, something

. Specifically: (a)

A mass of timber or boards fastened together, and conveyed down a stream by the current; a raft

. (b)

The hollow, metallic ball of a self-acting faucet, which floats upon the water in a cistern or boiler

. (c)

The cork or quill used in angling, to support the bait line, and indicate the bite of a fish

. (d)

Anything used to buoy up whatever is liable to sink; an inflated bag or pillow used by persons learning to swim; a life preserver.

This reform bill . . . had been used as a float by the conservative ministry. J. P. Peters.


A float board. See Float board (below).

3. Tempering

A contrivance for affording a copious stream of water to the heated surface of an object of large bulk, as an anvil or die.



The act of flowing; flux; flow.




A quantity of earth, eighteen feet square and one foot deep.



6. Plastering

The trowel or tool with which the floated coat of plastering is leveled and smoothed.


A polishing block used in marble working; a runner.



A single-cut file for smoothing; a tool used by shoemakers for rasping off pegs inside a shoe.


A coal cart.




The sea; a wave. See Flote, n.

Float board, one of the boards fixed radially to the rim of an undershot water wheel or of a steamer's paddle wheel; -- a vane. -- Float case Naut., a caisson used for lifting a ship. -- Float copper ∨ gold Mining, fine particles of metallic copper or of gold suspended in water, and thus liable to be lost. -- Float ore, water-worn particles of ore; fragments of vein material found on the surface, away from the vein outcrop. Raymond. -- Float stone Arch., a siliceous stone used to rub stonework or brickwork to a smooth surface. -- Float valve, a valve or cock acted upon by a float. See Float, 1 (b).


© Webster 1913.

Float, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Floated; p. pr. & vb. n. Floating.] [OE. flotien, flotten, AS. flotian to float, swim, fr. fleotan. See Float, n.]


To rest on the surface of any fluid; to swim; to be buoyed up.

The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground. Milton.

Three blustering nights, borne by the southern blast, I floated. Dryden.


To move quietly or gently on the water, as a raft; to drift along; to move or glide without effort or impulse on the surface of a fluid, or through the air.

They stretch their broad plumes and float upon the wind. Pope.

There seems a floating whisper on the hills. Byron.


© Webster 1913.

Float, v. t.


To cause to float; to cause to rest or move on the surface of a fluid; as, the tide floated the ship into the harbor.

Had floated that bell on the Inchcape rock. Southey.


To flood; to overflow; to cover with water.

Proud Pactolus floats the fruitful lands. Dryden.

3. Plastering

To pass over and level the surface of with a float while the plastering is kept wet.


To support and sustain the credit of, as a commercial scheme or a joint-stock company, so as to enable it to go into, or continue in, operation.


© Webster 1913.