Definition of afloat in English:

afloat

adjective

  • 1predicative Floating in water; not sinking.

    ‘they trod water to keep afloat’
    ‘the canoes were still afloat’
    • ‘The only reason why they are able to stay afloat is their buoyant sacs near their throats.’
    • ‘As the badly injured seaman struggled to stay afloat in the freezing water - he was not wearing a lifejacket - crewmen from his ship threw lifebuoys.’
    • ‘They groom them constantly, keeping the pups' fur in such good condition that it keeps the pup afloat and unable to sink.’
    • ‘She recalled flailing in the water, desperately trying to keep afloat and barely aware of the screams and chaos around her when she heard the voice offering help.’
    • ‘The water strider's hairy legs work to keep it afloat.’
    • ‘The pirates attacked us with everything they had, which was significantly more than we did, and we were hard pressed to even stay afloat in the water.’
    • ‘The vessel has now been lifted out of the water and is now afloat.’
    • ‘In water polo, our timeouts consist of eggbeatering (treading water) to stay afloat.’
    • ‘She was enraptured by the sight of two young men sitting in half barrels trying to sink one another whilst staying afloat in a freshwater pond.’
    • ‘They thought it was the tide but within minutes they were up to their waists in water and struggling to stay afloat.’
    • ‘Water-lilies have large numbers of air pockets in their tissues which keep their leaves afloat on the water surface, a perfect supply of air for an insect able to get to it.’
    • ‘He coughed, and spat water from his mouth, trying to keep himself afloat.’
    • ‘Knowing the risks is important and will likely keep you afloat regardless of the water conditions.’
    • ‘The bride, amazingly, managed to stay afloat in the waters.’
    • ‘The ship was pulled into a port beneath the palace, where it remained afloat on dark blue waters.’
    • ‘When the ship began to sink, the franchisor left its charge afloat in turbulent waters, without a life jacket.’
    • ‘Juvenile sea turtles have not developed this ability and must sleep afloat at the water's surface.’
    • ‘The vessel is presently still afloat but very low in the water, there is a pump on board and we will have to wait and see if it can be towed back to the shore.’
    • ‘In the process, he found it easy to keep himself afloat in the water for minutes together.’
    • ‘He was wearing a padded coat and I think that was giving him some buoyancy and keeping him afloat.’
    buoyant, floating, buoyed up, non-submerged, suspended, drifting, above the surface, on the surface, above water, keeping one's head above water
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 On board a ship or boat.
      ‘he hopes to find a second-hand craft and be afloat by the end of the month’
      • ‘A chance to go afloat on a working scientific research vessel to learn how the oceans work is on offer this half-term.’
      • ‘No person shall go afloat without first completing an enrolment form.’
      • ‘The crews are trained to undertake tows of crippled boats, extinguish fires afloat and provide first aid.’
      • ‘We're already afloat, therefore our boats must be functional.’
      • ‘For many British boat anglers, there is no greater thrill than to go afloat on their own boats.’
  • 2predicative Out of debt or difficulty.

    ‘professional management will be needed to keep firms afloat’
    • ‘It's only the willingness of the foreign central banks to buy our debt that keeps us afloat.’
    • ‘In the five years since the financial crisis struck, the country is still struggling to stay afloat as debt payment remains the biggest drag on its economy.’
    • ‘His optimism has kept the team afloat, but it will be difficult to recover fully from failing to finish three of the first five races.’
    • ‘The revenue sent back by family members working abroad has kept the economy afloat during the recent, difficult war years.’
    • ‘But, when it came to our showing in the League, we could consider our seventh place to their fifth a great achievement in light of our difficulties merely keeping afloat.’
    • ‘‘If the central bank cuts rates, it will help take the pressure off many companies as we try to stay afloat in this difficult time,’ he said.’
    • ‘Certainly, the weakening contract prices are a blow to the company as it struggles to stay afloat under the weight of massive debt.’
    • ‘What is keeping us afloat is further debt expansion.’
    • ‘‘I'm obviously going to have a go at it, but it will be extremely difficult to stay afloat,’ said Mr Smith, who runs the business by himself.’
    • ‘It is believed to be costing him around £400,000 a week to keep the club afloat as it has massive debts and players' salaries to cover.’
    • ‘The exhibition included a remarkable group commissioned by the clergy which kept the firm afloat in the difficult period after the revolution of 1848.’
    • ‘At a time when the economy is experiencing the effects of corrections in the world economy along with local difficulties, many businesses are struggling to stay afloat.’
    • ‘This is deeply insulting to our members, skilled and dedicated professionals who have worked above and beyond the call of duty to keep services afloat through difficult times.’
    • ‘When it comes to keeping the family farm afloat in what have been very difficult times in the agricultural industry, many assume it is the farmer who is earning all the money.’
    • ‘One cannot really blame them because even the best talent in women's athletics have found it difficult to stay afloat in the international arena.’
    • ‘The club provides social activities to 150 members with learning difficulties and relies on charity donations and fundraising to keep afloat.’
    • ‘It is widely recognised that the money sent home by these exiles kept the country afloat during that difficult time.’
    • ‘Analysts believe the larger insurers will have sufficient assets to withstand further falls, but some of the smaller companies may find staying afloat increasingly difficult.’
    • ‘It was clear from the report that the club depend almost entirely on sponsorship to keep them afloat as rising costs are making life very difficult for them and their mentors.’
    • ‘Since then, the business has generated sufficient sales and garnered enough grants for basic research to stay afloat without going into debt.’
    1. 2.1 In general circulation; current.
      ‘there are various rumours afloat connected with his disappearance’
      • ‘There is some talk afloat among our party of removing further up the country, nearer to the mountains, where gold is said to be in greater abundance.’
      • ‘There’s interesting talk afloat about blog networks these days.’
      • ‘There are rumours afloat that a major musical act will be playing this time next year.’
      • ‘There were new evangelical currents afloat, especially the tracts the Fundamentals that gave the literalist movement its name.’
      • ‘There are rumours afloat that an election might happen in the spring.’

Origin

Old English on flote (see a-, float), influenced in Middle English by Old Norse á flot(i) and Old French en flot.

Pronunciation

afloat

/əˈfləʊt/