Definitions for: Drift

[n] (mining) a horizontal (or nearly horizontal) passageway in a mine; "they dug a drift parallel with the vein"
[n] general meaning or tenor; "caught the drift of the conversation"
[n] a general tendency to change (as of opinion); "not openly liberal but that is the trend of the book"; "a broad movement of the electorate to the right"
[n] something heaped up by the wind or current
[n] a force that moves something along
[n] the gradual departure from an intended course due to external influences (as a ship or plane)
[n] a process of linguistic change over a period of time
[v] be piled up in banks or heaps by the force of wind or a current; "snow drifting several feet high"; "sand drifting like snow"
[v] be subject to fluctuation; "The stock market drifted upward"
[v] drive slowly and far afield for grazing; "drift the cattle herds westwards"
[v] cause to be carried by a current; "drift the boats downstream"
[v] move about aimlessly or without any destination, often in search of food or employment; "The gypsies roamed the woods"; "roving vagabonds"; "the wandering Jew"; "The cattle roam across the prairie"; "the laborers drift from one town to the next"
[v] be in motion due to some air or water current; "The leaves were blowing in the wind"; "the boat drifted on the lake"; "The sailboat was adrift on the open sea"; "the shipwrecked boat drifted away from the shore"
[v] move in an unhurried fashion; "The unknown young man drifted among the invited guests"
[v] wander from a direct course or at random; "The child strayed from the path and her parents lost sight of her"; "don't drift from the set course"
[v] live unhurriedly, irresponsibly, or freely; "My son drifted around for years in California before going to law school"
[v] vary or move from a fixed point or course; "stock prices are drifting higher"

Webster (1913) Definition: Drift, n. [From drive; akin to LG. & D. drift a
driving, Icel. drift snowdrift, Dan. drift, impulse, drove,
herd, pasture, common, G. trift pasturage, drove. See
1. A driving; a violent movement.

The dragon drew him [self] away with drift of his
wings. --King

2. The act or motion of drifting; the force which impels or
drives; an overpowering influence or impulse.

A bad man, being under the drift of any passion,
will follow the impulse of it till something
interpose. --South.

3. Course or direction along which anything is driven;
setting. ``Our drift was south.'' --Hakluyt.

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.

He has made the drift of the whole poem a compliment
on his country in general. -- Addison.

Now thou knowest my drift. --Sir W.

5. That which is driven, forced, or urged along; as:
(a) Anything driven at random. ``Some log . . . a useless
drift.'' --Dryden.
(b) 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.

Drifts of rising dust involve the sky. -- Pope.

We got the brig a good bed in the rushing drift
[of ice]. --Kane.
(c) A drove or flock, as of cattle, sheep, birds. [Obs.]

Cattle coming over the bridge (with their great
drift doing much damage to the high ways). --

6. (Arch.) The horizontal thrust or pressure of an arch or
vault upon the abutments. [R.] --Knight.

7. (Geol.) 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.

8. In South Africa, a ford in a river.

9. (Mech.) 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.

10. (Mil.)
(a) A tool used in driving down compactly the composition
contained in a rocket, or like firework.
(b) A deviation from the line of fire, peculiar to oblong

11. (Mining) A passage driven or cut between shaft and shaft;
a driftway; a small subterranean gallery; an adit or

12. (Naut.)
(a) The distance through which a current flows in a given
(b) The angle which the line of a ship's motion makes
with the meridian, in drifting.
(c) The distance to which a vessel is carried off from
her desired course by the wind, currents, or other
(d) 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.
(e) The distance between the two blocks of a tackle.

13. 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.

Note: Drift is used also either adjectively or as the first
part of a compound. See Drift, a.

Drift of the forest (O. Eng. Law), an examination or view
of the cattle in a forest, in order to see whose they are,
whether they are commonable, and to determine whether or
not the forest is surcharged. --Burrill.

Drift, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Drifted; p. pr. & vb. n.
1. To float or be driven along by, or as by, a current of
water or air; as, the ship drifted astern; a raft drifted
ashore; the balloon drifts slowly east.

We drifted o'er the harbor bar. -- Coleridge.

2. To accumulate in heaps by the force of wind; to be driven
into heaps; as, snow or sand drifts.

3. (mining) 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. [U.S.]

Drift, v. t.
1. To drive or carry, as currents do a floating body. --J. H.

2. To drive into heaps; as, a current of wind drifts snow or

3. (Mach.) To enlarge or shape, as a hole, with a drift.

Drift, a.
That causes drifting or that is drifted; movable by wind or
currents; as, drift currents; drift ice; drift mud. --Kane.

Drift anchor. See Sea anchor, and also Drag sail, under
Drag, n.

Drift epoch (Geol.), the glacial epoch.

Drift net, a kind of fishing net.

Drift sail. Same as Drag sail. See under Drag, n.

Drift, n.
1. (Phys. Geog.) One of the slower movements of oceanic
circulation; a general tendency of the water, subject to
occasional or frequent diversion or reversal by the wind;
as, the easterly drift of the North Pacific.

2. (A["e]ronautics) The horizontal component of the pressure
of the air on the sustaining surfaces of a flying machine.
The lift is the corresponding vertical component, which
sustains the machine in the air.

Synonyms: cast, freewheel, gallery, heading, impetus, impulsion, movement, purport, ramble, range, roam, rove, stray, swan, tramp, trend, vagabond, wander

See Also: accumulate, action, activity, amass, change, circulate, conglomerate, crop, cumulate, disposition, drumlin, exist, force, gad, gallivant, gather, go, gravitation, graze, inclination, jazz around, leeway, linguistic process, live, locomote, matter, maunder, melioration, move, natural action, natural process, passageway, pasture, pile up, snowdrift, strain, stream, subsist, substance, survive, tendency, tenor, tide, travel, vary, waft

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