Definition of afloat in English:


Line breaks: afloat
Pronunciation: /əˈfləʊt

adjective & adverb

  • 1Floating in water; not sinking: [as adverb]: they trod water to keep afloat [as predic. adjective]: the canoes were still afloat
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    • Knowing the risks is important and will likely keep you afloat regardless of the water conditions.
    • In the process, he found it easy to keep himself afloat in the water for minutes together.
  • 1.1On board a ship or boat: [as predic. adjective]: he hopes to find a second-hand craft and be afloat by the end of the month
    More example sentences
    • We're already afloat, therefore our boats must be functional.
    • The crews are trained to undertake tows of crippled boats, extinguish fires afloat and provide first aid.
    • For many British boat anglers, there is no greater thrill than to go afloat on their own boats.
  • 2Out of debt or difficulty: [as adverb]: professional management will be needed to keep firms afloat
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • It's only the willingness of the foreign central banks to buy our debt that keeps us afloat.
  • 2.1In general circulation; current: [as adverb]: there are various rumours afloat connected with his disappearance
    More example sentences
    • There were new evangelical currents afloat, especially the tracts the Fundamentals that gave the literalist movement its name.
    • There are rumours afloat that a major musical act will be playing this time next year.
    • There are rumours afloat that an election might happen in the spring.


Old English on flote (see a-2, float), influenced in Middle English by Old Norse á flot(i) and Old French en flot.

More definitions of afloat

Definition of afloat in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little