Definition of flotation in English:


(also floatation)


  • 1The action of floating in a liquid or gas.

    ‘the body form is modified to assist in flotation’
    • ‘With a plastic flotation collar to keep the brine off one's face, one lies like a plank on the surface of the water, staring at the ceiling and thinking great thoughts.’
    • ‘You can pick out details now; the bright red flotation vests, the faces under the broad sunhats, the stickers that say ‘Cruiser’.’
    • ‘Vane-like or bubble-like structures present particularly on scandent forms may have aided flotation if they were gas-filled.’
    • ‘For example, maximum horsepower, persons and weight capacities and flotation requirements apply only to boats under 20 feet.’
    • ‘Safety has been foremost, with three buoyancy bags or floatation devices strategically placed to assure that the boat does not sink.’
    • ‘I recently came across a place which offers the chance to do sensory deprivation floatation tank type stuff, and being something of a sucker for 1960s hippy psychologoweirdness, was thinking about trying it out.’
    • ‘Relaxation massages and flotation assists with muscle relaxation and result in lower HR, BP and improved mood states.’
    • ‘Minimize tire track effects by creating a firm seedbed, avoid operation when soil is too wet and use tractor tire or track configurations that allow low pressure, high flotation.’
    • ‘Sherman tanks could be launched at sea (the DD's) because they were made buoyant by a flotation collar fitted around them.’
    • ‘Hydrotherapy - relaxed swimming and flotation decrease the energy required in everyday life just to support the body weight, allowing the diversion of this energy to recovery.’
    • ‘Polymeric foams have been used for such things as building insulation, flotation devices and furniture cushions.’
    • ‘Thankfully there is a lot of good stuff on the market and, if you are serious about your fishing and intend to fish lots of longish sessions, then look to either floatation or fully thermal suits.’
    • ‘This excess floatation capacity may allow the insects to bounce on water surfaces, much like a rubber ball on a cement sidewalk, to avoid drowning during a downpour.’
    1. 1.1The separation of small particles of a solid by their different capacities to float.
      • ‘This is still a difficult market and it is obvious that the climate is different to the last flotation.’
      • ‘Retained organisms were preserved in 70% ethyl alcohol and later sorted using sugar floatation.’
      • ‘In the new stage, the ore will first be leached, and then, the residue will be treated by flotation to recover the sulphide content.’
      • ‘Some of the most common separation techniques are leaching, flotation, filtration, chromatography, and centrifugal force.’
      • ‘Colloidal phenomena are key in the separation of minerals from their ores by particle flotation.’
    2. 1.2The capacity to float; buoyancy.
      • ‘Using inflatable toys and a PFD for flotation, participants swim down a stretch of the river.’
      • ‘Swimming costumes could be made of fabrics that meet criteria for permeability and flotation and shapes that do not alter the natural function of the body.’
      • ‘Because the decking is a solid sheet, providing substantially more flotation, shoes can be smaller and still ride atop the snow like larger wood and lacing snowshoes.’
      • ‘If you do decide to go for the jacket and salopette option, ensure that the trousers are not buoyant and that all the floatation is in the jacket.’
      • ‘The locals in their primitive canoes cast nets into the depths, others set line-netting using empty plastic bottles for flotation.’
      • ‘Grivel worked some real magic to produce a snowshoe that expands to fit different foot sizes and adjusts for more or less floatation.’
      founding, establishing, setting up, starting, initiation, institution, forming, creation, launch, flotation, origination, development, inauguration, constitution, endowment
      View synonyms
  • 2The process of offering a company's shares for sale on the stock market for the first time.

    • ‘Acquiring sufficient scale to be a serious contender required capital, a realisation which led to flotation on the London Stock Exchange in October 2000.’
    • ‘At flotation the company was valued at £20.3m and Lewin used the £3m raised from investors to expand the business by acquiring several rival card-shop chains.’
    • ‘Stockbroking firms have also been hard hit by the failure of two proposed stockmarket flotations which would have gone some way towards replacing the large hole left by companies exiting the stockmarket.’
    • ‘It came in a week when Scottish businessmen were making waves in a number of areas in which Scotland is supposed to be no good: entrepreneurialism, flotation and building global businesses overseas.’
    • ‘The board is determined to press ahead with the £213m flotation on Friday, despite the US legal wrangle, although there could be a slight delay.’
    • ‘They will see a management team looking for a possible future flotation as the way ahead.’
    • ‘Irish venture capitalists see a major upswing in the sell-off and flotation of start-up companies in which they have invested close to €1 billion.’
    • ‘It recently appointed advisers to oversee a £1bn flotation.’
    • ‘Property companies have shied away from flotation as they generally trade at discounts of 30% to 40% to their net asset value.’
    • ‘Since flotation in 1998, the company has digested seven major acquisitions and now accounts for around 10% of the UK cake market.’
    • ‘Two years after the board's famous U-turn on demutualisation, the policyholders had forgiven them the thousands of pounds that the earlier rejection of flotation had cost them.’
    • ‘By contrast with the most recent batch of stockmarket flotations during the dotcom boom, there are no wild valuations this time round.’
    • ‘Shares hit 236.5p after the announcement on Wednesday - a three and a half year high - but have performed sluggishly since the company's flotation in 1996.’
    • ‘Corporate financiers are looking at a dearth of stockmarket flotations this year and expect to rely on companies disposing of non-core businesses and management buyouts to earn a crust.’
    • ‘Of the 22,000-odd high-techs in China, only 60 have been approved for flotation on the GEM.’
    • ‘At £7bn - the top end of expectations - it would still be half the value put on the business when it last contemplated flotation in 2000.’
    • ‘But it's better to revalue through flotation since policymakers would find it difficult to set a perfect rate for adjustment, Eichengreen said.’
    • ‘First there's a downturn in the market which makes flotation a pipe dream, then there's overstuffed and time-consuming portfolios as well as the demands of growing businesses in turbulent times.’
    • ‘Although both he and Crombie opposed demutualisation when it last surfaced in 2000, the duo now support the estimated £6bn flotation.’
    • ‘His experience encompasses flotations, secondary offerings, private placements and mergers and acquisitions in Britain and Ireland.’


Early 19th century: alteration of floatation (from float) on the pattern of French flottaison. The spelling flot- was influenced by flotilla.