Definition of buoy in English:

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Pronunciation: /bɔɪ/


An anchored float serving as a navigation mark, to show reefs or other hazards, or for mooring.
Example sentences
  • At Carval Rock we tie off to a mooring buoy bolted into the reef at 15m.
  • Your July cover caption reflects that the Star Flyer is ‘gliding peacefully through the Aegean Sea’ when she actually rests at anchor, tied between two mooring buoys.
  • Nine fixed navigation aids and five buoys are scheduled to replace them by mid 2004.
marker, anchored float, navigation mark, guide, beacon, signal


[with object]
1 (often be buoyed up) Keep (someone or something) afloat: the creatures could swim, both buoyed up and cooled by the water
More example sentences
  • It floated really well (I imagine all the hairs trap air and buoy it up), and was making what looked to be good progress by padding with all eight legs.
  • We suddenly noticed he was missing and ran around looking for him, before looking out to sea and seeing him floating, buoyed up by the air in his nappy.
  • Instead he presented them as wallowers, being buoyed up by water, feeding on soft marsh vegetation.
1.1Make (someone) cheerful and confident: she was buoyed up by his praise
More example sentences
  • Twenty-four hours ago, I was buoyed by the confidence of having three plates fiercely spinning.
  • Some described false confidence as the ultimate fair-weather friend, buoying you when times are good and deserting you when they're bad.
  • Despite the increased friction between the two sides, morale among IT staff remains high, with striking workers buoyed by messages of support from council colleagues and members of the public.
cheer, cheer up, brighten up, ginger up, hearten, rally, animate, invigorate, comfort, uplift, lift, encourage, stimulate, raise someone's spirits, give a lift to;
support, sustain, give strength to, be a source of strength to, be a tower of strength to, keep someone going, see someone through
informal pep up, perk up, buck up
rare inspirit
1.2Cause (a price) to rise to or remain at a high level: shares were up 4p, buoyed by his cut-and-thrust management style
More example sentences
  • A&L's share price anyway seems to have been buoyed up by the prospect of predators in the wings, when it becomes prey at the end of the month.
  • Shares in the bank have been buoyed up by the news, which has sparked speculation of a takeover.
  • When the economy began the descent into recession in the late 1980s, property prices continued to rise, buoyed by an interest rate cut designed to revive the economy in the wake of the 1987 stock market plunge.
2 (usually as adjective buoyed) Mark with an anchored float: a buoyed channel
More example sentences
  • You'll never see more than one dive boat on any site and they're all buoyed.
  • The mine was towed some two miles off Methil and lowered to the sea bed and buoyed off.
  • One of the most striking scenes portrays various fishing vessels buoyed to the wharf in the harbor with the lighthouse in the background.



Pronunciation: /ˈbɔɪədʒ/
Example sentences
  • Since Australian buoyage follows the IALA ‘A’ system, it's perhaps just as well that navigation is eyeball style.
  • Second, buoyage and charting are limited - and there's no Coast Guard or TowBoatU.S. to save your bacon if you skewer your yacht on a reef.
  • Take time to study a chart as well as study the buoyage to familiarise yourself with their meaning.


Middle English: probably from Middle Dutch boye, boeie, from a Germanic base meaning 'signal'. The verb is from Spanish boyar 'to float', from boya 'buoy'.

Words that rhyme with buoy

ahoy, alloy, Amoy, annoy, boy, cloy, coy, destroy, employ, enjoy, Hanoi, hoi polloi, hoy, Illinois, joy, koi, oi, ploy, poi, Roy, savoy, soy, tatsoi, toy, trompe l'œil, troy

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: buoy

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