Autumn leaves wafting in the breeze


From Middle English waften, of uncertain origin. Possibly from unattested Old English *wafettan, from wafian (to wave) +‎ -ettan, or perhaps borrowed from Middle Dutch wachten (to guard, provide for).[1]



waft (third-person singular simple present wafts, present participle wafting, simple past and past participle wafted)

  1. (ergative) To (cause to) float easily or gently through the air.
    A breeze came in through the open window and wafted her sensuous perfume into my eager nostrils.
  2. (intransitive) To be moved, or to pass, on a buoyant medium; to float.
    • 1675, John Dryden, Aureng-zebe, London: [s.n.], OCLC 497010563, Act III, scene i; republished as “Aureng-Zebe, a Tragedy”, in Walter Scott, editor, The Works of John Dryden, now First Collected in Eighteen Volumes. Illustrated with Notes, Historical, Critical, and Explanatory, and a Life of the Author, by Walter Scott, Esq., volume V, London: Printed for William Miller, Albemarle Street, by James Ballantyne and Co. Edinburgh, 1808, OCLC 317070632, page 226:
      Unhappy Aureng-Zebe is in disgrace; / And your Morat, proclaimed the successor, / Is called, to awe the city with his power. / Those trumpets his triumphant entry tell, / And now the shouts waft near the citadel.
  3. To give notice to by waving something; to wave the hand to; to beckon.



waft (plural wafts)

  1. A light breeze.
  2. Something (such as an odor or scent like a perfume) that is carried through the air.
    • 1908, Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows, London: Methuen, →ISBN:
      Meanwhile, the wafts from his old home pleaded, whispered, conjured, and finally claimed him imperiously.
    • 2010 September, “The SLM Calendar”, in St. Louis Magazine, volume 16, number 9, St. Louis, Mo.: Hartmann Pub. Co., ISSN 1090-5723, page 170:
      Patrol Magazine says of this Oxford, Miss., band: "Guitars are responsible for every noise in Colour Revolt's mix—not a single note of piano, waft of synthesizer, or evidence of electronic tampering are to be found. []"
  3. (nautical) A flag used to indicate wind direction or, with a knot tied in the center, as a signal; a waif, a wheft.



  1. ^ waften, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.