Last modified on 31 August 2014, at 13:11

drift

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English drift, dryft (act of driving, drove, shower of rain or snow, impulse), from Old English *drift (drift), from Proto-Germanic *driftiz (drift), from Proto-Indo-European *dhreibh- (to drive, push). Cognate with North Frisian drift (drift), Dutch drift (drift, passion, urge), German Drift (drift) and Trift (drove, pasture), Swedish drift (impulse, instinct), Icelandic drift (drift, snow-drift). Related to drive.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

drift (plural drifts)

  1. (physical) Movement; that which moves or is moved.
    1. (obsolete) A driving; a violent movement.
      • 1332, King Alisaunder (1332)
        The dragon drew him [self] away with drift of his wings.
    2. Course or direction along which anything is driven; setting.
    3. That which is driven, forced, or urged along.
      • 1892, James Yoxall, chapter 5, The Lonely Pyramid:
        The desert storm was riding in its strength; the travellers lay beneath the mastery of the fell simoom. [] Drifts of yellow vapour, fiery, parching, stinging, filled the air.
    4. Anything driven at random.
      • John Dryden (1631-1700)
        Some log [] a useless drift.
    5. A mass of matter which has been driven or forced onward together in a body, or thrown together in a heap, etc., especially by wind or water.
      a drift of snow, of ice, of sand, etc.
      • Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
        Drifts of rising dust involve the sky.
      • Kane
        We got the brig a good bed in the rushing drift [of ice].
    6. The distance through which a current flows in a given time.
    7. A drove or flock, as of cattle, sheep, birds.
      • Thomas Fuller (1606-1661)
        cattle coming over the bridge (with their great drift doing much damage to the high ways)
    8. A collection of loose earth and rocks, or boulders, which have been distributed over large portions of the earth's surface, especially in latitudes north of forty degrees, by the retreat of continental glaciers, such as that which buries former river valleys and creates young river valleys.
      • 1867, E. Andrews, "Observations on the Glacial Drift beneath the bed of Lake Michigan," American Journal of Science and Arts‎, vol. 43, nos. 127-129, page 75:
        It is there seen that at a distance from the valleys of streams, the old glacial drift usually comes to the surface, and often rises into considerable eminences.
    9. Driftwood included in flotsam washed up onto the beach.
  2. The act or motion of drifting; the force which impels or drives; an overpowering influence or impulse.
    • Robert South (1634–1716)
      A bad man, being under the drift of any passion, will follow the impulse of it till something interpose.
  3. A place (a ford) along a river where the water is shallow enough to permit crossing to the opposite side.
  4. The tendency of an act, argument, course of conduct, or the like; object aimed at or intended; intention; hence, also, import or meaning of a sentence or discourse; aim.
    • 1977, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, Penguin Classics, p. 316:
      'Besides, you lack the brains to catch my drift. / If I explained you wouldn't understand.'
    • Joseph Addison (1672-1719)
      He has made the drift of the whole poem a compliment on his country in general.
    • Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
      Now thou knowest my drift.
  5. (architecture) The horizontal thrust or pressure of an arch or vault upon the abutments.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?)
  6. (handiwork) A tool.
    1. A slightly tapered tool of steel for enlarging or shaping a hole in metal, by being forced or driven into or through it; a broach.
    2. A tool used in driving down compactly the composition contained in a rocket, or like firework.
  7. A deviation from the line of fire, peculiar to oblong projectiles.
  8. (mining) A passage driven or cut between shaft and shaft; a driftway; a small subterranean gallery; an adit or tunnel.
  9. (nautical) Movement.
    1. The angle which the line of a ship's motion makes with the meridian, in drifting.
    2. The distance to which a vessel is carried off from her desired course by the wind, currents, or other causes.
    3. The place in a deep-waisted vessel where the sheer is raised and the rail is cut off, and usually terminated with a scroll, or driftpiece.
    4. The distance between the two blocks of a tackle.
    5. The difference between the size of a bolt and the hole into which it is driven, or between the circumference of a hoop and that of the mast on which it is to be driven.
  10. (cricket) A sideways movement of the ball through the air, when bowled by a spin bowler.

Derived termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

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VerbEdit

drift (third-person singular simple present drifts, present participle drifting, simple past and past participle drifted)

  1. (intransitive) To move slowly, especially pushed by currents of water, air, etc.
    The boat drifted away from the shore.
    The balloon was drifting in the breeze.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 11, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      One day I was out in the barn and he drifted in. I was currying the horse and he set down on the wheelbarrow and begun to ask questions.
  2. (intransitive) To move haphazardly without any destination.
    He drifted from town to town, never settling down.
  3. (intransitive) To deviate gently from the intended direction of travel.
    This car tends to drift left at high speeds.
    • 2011 January 15, Saj Chowdhury, “Man City 4-3 Wolves”, BBC:
      Midway through the half, Argentine Tevez did begin to drift inside in order to exert his influence but by this stage Mick McCarthy's side had gone 1-0 up and looked comfortable.
  4. (transitive) To drive or carry, as currents do a floating body.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of J. H. Newman to this entry?)
  5. (transitive) To drive into heaps.
    A current of wind drifts snow or sand
  6. (intransitive) To accumulate in heaps by the force of wind; to be driven into heaps.
    Snow or sand drifts.
  7. (mining, US) To make a drift; to examine a vein or ledge for the purpose of ascertaining the presence of metals or ores; to follow a vein; to prospect.
  8. (transitive, engineering) To enlarge or shape, as a hole, with a drift.
  9. To oversteer a vehicle, causing loss of traction, while maintaining control from entry to exit of a corner. See Drifting (motorsport).

Derived termsEdit

TranslationsEdit


DutchEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle Dutch drift, earlier presumably also *dricht, from Old Dutch *drift, from Proto-Germanic *driftiz.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

drift f (plural driften)

  1. passion
  2. strong and sudden upwelling of anger: a fit
  3. violent tendency
  4. flock (of sheep or oxen)
  5. deviation of direction caused by wind: drift
  6. path along which cattle are driven

Derived termsEdit


IcelandicEdit

NounEdit

drift f (genitive singular driftar, nominative plural driftir)

  1. snowdrift

DeclensionEdit

SynonymsEdit


SwedishEdit

NounEdit

drift c

  1. urge, instinct
  2. operation, management (singular only)

DeclensionEdit