1a thing that is buoyant in water, in particular: a small object attached to a fishing line to indicate by moving when a fish bites. a cork or buoy supporting the edge of a fishing net. a light object held for support by a person learning to swim. a hollow or inflated organ enabling an organism (such as the Portuguese man-of-war) to float in the water. a hollow structure fixed underneath an aircraft enabling it to take off and land on water. a floating device on the surface of a liquid which forms part of a valve apparatus controlling flow in and out of the enclosing container, e.g. in a water cistern or a carburettor. 2British a small vehicle or cart, especially one powered by electricity. a platform mounted on a truck and carrying a display in a procession:a carnival float 3British a sum of money used for change at the beginning of a period of trading in a shop or stall etc., or for minor expenditures. 4a hand tool with a rectangular blade used for smoothing plaster. 5
chiefly North American a soft drink with a scoop of ice cream floating in it:ice-cream floats
6(in critical path analysis) the period of time by which the duration of an activity may be extended without affecting the overall time for the process. 1rest or move on or near the surface of a liquid without sinking:she relaxed, floating gently in the water [with object and adverbial] cause (a buoyant object) to rest or move on or near the surface of a liquid:trees were felled and floated downstream be suspended freely in a liquid or gas:fragments of chipped cartilage floated in the joint 2 [with adverbial of direction] move or hover slowly and lightly in a liquid or the air; drift:clouds floated across a brilliant blue sky
) (of a rumour, idea, etc.) circulate:the notion was floating around Capitol Hill
move in a casual or leisurely way:Araminta floated down the stairs [with object and adverbial of direction] (in sport) make (the ball) travel lightly and effortlessly through the air:he floated the kick into the net 3 [with object] put forward (an idea) as a suggestion or test of reactions. offer the shares of (a company) for sale on the stock market for the first time.
4(of a currency) fluctuate freely in value in accordance with supply and demand in the financial markets:a policy of letting the pound float [with object] allow (a currency) to float.