drift Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “drift” in the English Dictionary

"drift" in British English

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driftverb [I usually + adv/prep]

uk   us   /drɪft/
C2 to ​moveslowly, ​especially as a ​result of ​outsideforces, with no ​control over ​direction: No one ​noticed that the ​boat had ​begun to drift out to ​sea. A ​mist drifted in from the ​marshes. After the ​bandstoppedplaying, ​people drifted away in twos and threes.figurative The ​talk drifted aimlessly from one ​subject to another.

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Phrasal verbs

driftnoun

uk   us   /drɪft/
  • drift noun (MEANING)

[S] the ​generalmeaning without the ​details: The general drift of the ​article was that ​society doesn't ​valueolderpeople.catch/get sb's drift informal to ​understand the ​generalmeaning of what someone is sayingif you catch/get my drift informal used to say that you have ​left out ​information or ​youropinion from what you have just said, but that you ​expect the ​personlistening still to ​understand it: She's ​married, but she doesn't ​act as if she is, if you get my drift.
(Definition of drift from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"drift" in American English

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driftverb [I]

 us   /drɪft/
  • drift verb [I] (MOVE)

to move ​slowly, esp. as a ​result of ​outsideforces, with no ​control over ​direction: He ​stoppedrowing and ​let the ​boat drift. Someone or something that drifts ​changes in a ​gradual way that ​seems to be ​controlled by ​outsideforces: I ​finally drifted off to ​sleep.

driftnoun

 us   /drɪft/
  • drift noun (MEANING)

[U] the ​generalmeaning or ​message of something said or written: After a ​minute I ​caught his drift and grinned back.
  • drift noun (MOVE)

[C] a ​gradualchange that ​seems to be ​controlled by ​outsideforces: Many ​peopleexperience a drift toward more ​conservativepolitics as they get ​older. [C] A drift is also a ​pile of something that is made ​larger by the ​force of the ​wind: The ​statepoliceclosed the ​highway because of ​deepsnow drifts.
(Definition of drift from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"drift" in Business English

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driftverb [I]

uk   us   /drɪft/
FINANCE to slowly go up or down in ​value with no particular ​control over direction: drift lower/down/downwards The airline's ​shares drifted down 15 ​cents at $5.80. drift ​higher/up

driftnoun [S or U]

uk   us   /drɪft/
FINANCE a ​slowchange in ​value, with no particular ​control over direction: an upward/downward drift in sth The ​downward drift in copper ​prices looks set to continue.
a ​slowdevelopment or ​change from one ​situation to another: drift away from sth The ​company is not seeing ​evidence of any drift away from its ​premiumbrands.drift to/toward sth There has been ​generalunease about the drift toward a ​culture of ​selling, ​marketing, and ​consumerism.
a ​slowmovement from one ​place to another: a drift from sth to sth The ​population drift from the cities to the ​suburbsadds significantly to ​car use.
See also
(Definition of drift from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of drift?
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“drift” in British English

“drift” in American English

“drift” in Business English

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