\float\ (flōt), n.[oe. flote ship, boat, fleet, as. flota ship, fr. fle?tan to float; akin to d. vloot fleet, g. floss raft, icel. floti float, raft, fleet, sw. flotta. ? 84. see fleet, v. i., and cf. flotilla, flotsam, plover.]
1. anything which floats or rests on the surface of a fluid, as to sustain weight, or to indicate the height of the surface, or mark the place of, something. specifically: (a) a mass of timber or boards fastened together, and conveyed down a stream by the current; a raft. (b) the hollow, metallic ball of a self-acting faucet, which floats upon the water in a cistern or boiler. (c) the cork or quill used in angling, to support the bait line, and indicate the bite of a fish. (d) anything used to buoy up whatever is liable to sink; an inflated bag or pillow used by persons learning to swim; a life preserver. this reform bill had been used as a float by the conservative ministry. p. peters.
2. a float board. see float board (below).
3. (tempering) a contrivance for affording a copious stream of water to the heated surface of an object of large bulk, as an anvil or die.
4. the act of flowing; flux; flow. [obs.]
5. a quantity of earth, eighteen feet square and one foot deep. [obs.]
6. (plastering) the trowel or tool with which the floated coat of plastering is leveled and smoothed.
7. a polishing block used in marble working; a runner.
8. a single-cut file for smoothing; a tool used by shoemakers for rasping off pegs inside a shoe.
9. a coal cart. [eng.]
10. the sea; a wave. see flote, n.
board, one of the boards fixed radially to the rim of an undershot water wheel or of a steamer's paddle wheel; -- a vane.
case (naut.), a caisson used for lifting a ship.
root beer float
to float with the stream