A gradual shift in attitude, opinion, or position . . . . A foregoing of any attempt at direction or control . . . . . . . . A general underlying design or tendency . . . . An assumed trend toward a general change in the structure
Something driven, propelled, or urged along or drawn together in a clump by or as if by a natural agency . . . . Something [as a tool] driven down upon or forced into a body . . . .
R E F E R E N C E S
Drift n [ME; akin to OE drifan to drive -more at Drive] [14c] 1 a: the act of driving something along b: the flow or the velocity of the current of a river or ocean stream 2: something driven, propelled, or urged along or drawn together in a clump by or as if by a natural agency: as a: wind-driven snow, rain, cloud, dust, or smoke usu. at or near the ground surface b : a mass of matter [as sand] deposited together by or as if by wind or water : a helter-skelter accumulation c: Drove, Flock d: something [as driftwood] washed ashore e: rock debris deposited by natural agents; specif: a deposit of clay, sand, gravel, and boulders transported by a glacier or by running water from a glacier 3 a: a general underlying design or tendency b: the underlying meaning, import, or purport of what is spoken or written 4: something [as a tool] driven down upon or forced into a body 5: the motion or action of drifting esp. spatially and usu. under external influence; as a: the lateral motion of an aircraft due to air currents b: an easy moderate more or less steady flow or sweep along a spatial course c: a gradual shift in attitude, opinion, or position d: an aimless course; esp: a foregoing of any attempt at direction or control e: a deviation from a true reproduction, representation, or reading 6 a: a nearly horizontal mine passageway driven on or parallel to the course of a vein or rock stratum b: a small crosscut in a mine connecting two lareger tunnels 7 a: an assumed trend toward a general change in the structure of a language over a period of time b: Genetic Drift c: a gradual change in the zero reading of an instrument or in any quantitative characteristic that is supposed to remain constant -syn see Tendency
2 Drift vi [ca. 1600] 1 a: to become driven or carrired along [as by a current of water, wind, or air] b: to move or float smoothly and effortlessly 2 a: to move along a line of least resistance b: to move in a random or casual way c: to become carried along subject to no guidance or control [the talk __ed from topic to topic] 3 a: to accumulate in a mass or become piled up in heaps by wind or water b: to become covered with a drift 4: to vary or deviate from a set course or adjustment -vt 1 a: to cause to be driven in a current b West: to drive [livestock] slowly esp. to allow grazing 2 a: to pile in heaps b: to cover with drifts
[Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition. Springfield, MA, USA: Merriam-Webster, Inc. 1995.]
The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only. The contents of this site may not be reproduced in any form without proper reference to Text, Author, Publisher, and Date of Publication [and page #s when suitable].