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drift ({{{1}}})
  1. The act or motion of drifting; the force which impels or drives; an overpowering influence or impulse.
  2. A place, also known as a ford, along a river where the water is shallow enough to permit oxen or sheep to be driven to the opposite side.
  3. Course or direction along which anything is driven; setting.
  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.
  5. That which is driven, forced, or urged along
  6. Anything driven at random.
  7. A mass of matter which has been driven or forced onward together in a body, or thrown together in a heap, etc., esp. by wind or water; as, a drift of snow, of ice, of sand, and the like.
  8. A drove or flock, as of cattle, sheep, birds.
  9. The horizontal thrust or pressure of an arch or vault upon the abutments.
  10. 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 agency of ice.
  11. In South Africa, a ford in a river.
  12. 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.
  13. A tool used in driving down compactly the composition contained in a rocket, or like firework.
  14. A deviation from the line of fire, peculiar to oblong projectiles.
  15. A passage driven or cut between shaft and shaft; a driftway; a small subterranean gallery; an adit or tunnel.
  16. The distance through which a current flows in a given time.
  17. The angle which the line of a ship's motion makes with the meridian, in drifting.
  18. The distance to which a vessel is carried off from her desired course by the wind, currents, or other causes.
  19. 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.
  20. The distance between the two blocks of a tackle.
  21. 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.
  22. A sideways movement of the ball through the air, when bowled by a spin bowler.
  23. driftwood included in flotsam washed up onto the beach.
  24. (Should we delete(+) this sense?) Drift (see Wikipedia). The material left behind by the retreat of continental glaciers. It buries former river valleys and creates young river valleys. The Driftless Area, a geographical area of North America, was unglaciated for the past 510 million years. Mass noun.

Derived terms



to drift

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to drift (third-person singular simple present -, present participle -, simple past and past participle -)
  1. To move slowly, pushed by currents of water, air, etc
    The boat drifted away from the shore.
    The balloon was drifting in the breeze.
  2. To move haphazardly without any destination.
    He drifted from town to town, never settling down.
  3. To deviate gently from the intended direction of travel.
    This car tends to drift left at high speeds




drift c

  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

Related terms



Inflection for drift Singular Plural
common Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite

drift c.

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

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