Definition of adrift in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /əˈdrɪft/

adjective& adverb

1(Of a boat or its passengers) floating without being either moored or steered: [as adverb]: a cargo ship went adrift [as predicative adjective]: the seamen are adrift in lifeboats
More example sentences
  • The crew had been cast adrift in a rubber boat Oct.29 and were not rescued until 11 days later.
  • Yet he cannot even run his own department; while the captain of the ship squabbles with his crew below deck, the vessel is adrift and rudderless.
  • They were discovered on board by the crew and cast adrift on a life raft.
drifting, unmoored, unanchored
lost, off course, off track, off the right track, having lost one's bearings, disorientated, disoriented, confused, bewildered, (all) at sea;
unsettled, drifting, rootless, directionless, aimless, purposeless, without purpose, without goal, at a loose end
1.1Without purpose, direction, or guidance: [as adverb]: she found herself cast adrift in a land full of strangers [as predicative adjective]: the film industry was adrift in a sea of debt
More example sentences
  • He was adrift, proof that one's personal life is intertwined with the professional.
  • Based on my previous experience, many customers are adrift.
  • It pained me to leave her like this, but - but - I was adrift in a sea of uncertainty.
1.2 [as adverb] informal No longer fixed in position: one of my fillings has come adrift
More example sentences
  • The string was for making any running repairs if any part of the harness should break or come adrift, the knife to cut the string and to pierce the leather to make the repair; and the shilling in case you needed to use a phone box to call home.
  • All on its own, with no aid or assistance from either clumsy poet or inquisitive cat, the heavy decorative roller blind at the window had come adrift from its mooring and fallen onto the windowsill.
  • He is wearing a chocolate brown moleskin suit, a dark shirt and tartan clip-on braces, one of which has come adrift.
2 [as predicative adjective] British informal Failing to reach a target or winning position: the team are three points adrift of the leaders
More example sentences
  • Steeton are now five points adrift of safety in Division A despite claiming a winning draw at Beckwithshaw.
  • And despite heading for Kingfield three points adrift of the play-off places, Coleman believes the fixture list means the Reds still hold their destiny in their own hands.
  • The point, though, still leaves then nine points adrift of leaders Luton.


Late 16th century: from a-2 'on, in' + drift.

Words that rhyme with adrift

drift, gift, grift, lift, rift, shift, shrift, sift, squiffed, swift, thrift, uplift

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: adrift

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.