Definition of “float” - English Dictionary

“float” in English

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uk /fləʊt/ us /floʊt/

float verb (NOT SINK)

B1 [ I ] to stay on the surface of a liquid and not sink:

An empty bottle will float.
You can float very easily in/on the Dead Sea because it's so salty.

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float verb (MOVE)

B1 [ I or T, usually + adv/prep ] to (cause to) move easily through, or along the surface of a liquid, or to (cause to) move easily through air:

We spent a lazy afternoon floating down/along the river.
He tossed the bottle into the waves and watched it float out to sea.
The children enjoy floating their boats on the pond in the park.
Fluffy white clouds were floating across the sky.
figurative The sound of piano-playing floated out through the open window.

[ I usually + adv/prep ] literary to move smoothly and attractively:

She sort of floats around, like a ballet dancer.

[ I usually + adv/prep ] to move or act without purpose:

Since he lost his job, he's just floated around/about doing nothing.

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uk /fləʊt/ us /floʊt/

(Definition of “float” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“float” in American English

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us /floʊt/

float verb (MOVE ON LIQUID)

[ I/T ] to stay or move easily on or over the surface of a liquid, or to cause something to move in this way:

[ I ] An empty bottle will float on water.
[ I ] I’d float around for hours, just fishing.
[ T ] Fill the cups with hot coffee and float heavy cream on top.
[ I ] We spent a lazy afternoon floating down the river.
[ I ] fig. She removes the pins and her hair floats (= moves gracefully) down around her.
[ I ] fig. Reports have been floating around (= heard from various people) that the company might be for sale.

[ I/T ] Float also means to move easily through air:

[ I ] Fluffy white clouds were floating across the sky.

float verb (MONEY)

[ T ] to sell bonds (= official papers given to people who lend money to a government or company):

Cities float bond issues that are payable from property taxes.

floatnoun [ C ]

us /floʊt/

float noun [ C ] (VEHICLE)

a large vehicle that is decorated and used in parades (= public celebrations in which people march, walk, and ride along a planned route):

Marching bands and elaborate floats will be featured in the parade.

float noun [ C ] (DRINK)

a sweet drink with ice cream floating in it:

a root beer float

float noun [ C ] (MOVE ON LIQUID)

a piece of light material that stays on the surface of water:

the float in a toilet tank

(Definition of “float” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“float” in Business English

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uk /fləʊt/ us

[ I or T ] STOCK MARKET to offer new shares or bonds for sale on a financial market:

The authority has recently floated a $170 million bond to pay for some of the installation costs.

[ I or T ] STOCK MARKET to sell shares on a stock market for the first time in order to finance a new company:

There are several new businesses looking to float.
float (sth) on the stock market/stock exchange etc. The group is planning to float on the New York Stock Exchange later this year.
float at $3/200p/ etc. (a share) The stock was floated at 233p a share last July and closed up 3.75p last night at 286.25p.
Last January the chief executive said he would only float the company if there was a "dramatic" revival in the market.

[ I or T ] ECONOMICS if a country floats its currency, or if the currency floats, the government no longer controls its value in relation to the value of other currencies:

Central Bank is planning to stop letting the peso float freely.

[ T ] to make a suggestion, especially one for doing something that is different from what has been done in the past:

float an idea/proposal/suggestion The partnership idea was floated at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last year.

[ I ] FINANCE if a price or amount floats, it changes:

In the space of a few weeks, stock valuation floated up by 15%.


uk /fləʊt/ us

[ C ] mainly UK also flotation STOCK MARKET a situation in which a company offers shares for sale on a stock market for the first time:

The stock has been one of the great out-performers of recent times, rising more than 90% since the company's float 11 years ago.
The planned flotation of the new Internet portal has been postponed.
a $90 billion/£350 million, etc. float Bank of China is poised to file for $8 bn float.
Shares are currently below their 330p-a-share float price.
Companies must file an initial registration statement under the Exchange Act before commencing a public float.

[ S ] ECONOMICS a situation in which a government no longer controls the value of its country's currency in relation to the value of other currencies:

The float of the currency triggered a period of turbulence in Asian financial markets.
See also

[ U ] BANKING money that becomes available for a bank to spend before customers' cheques are paid:

The speed of electronic processing has all but eliminated the need for float.

[ C ] COMMERCE cash that is available to give as change to customers at the start of business each day

[ C ] UK MONEY →  petty cash

(Definition of “float” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)