American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search


DRIFT, noun

1. That which is driven by wind or water, as drift seems to be primarily a participle. Hence,

2. A heap of any matter driven together; as a drift of snow, called also a snow-drift; a drift of sand.

3. A driving; a force impelling or urging forward; impulse; overbearing power or influence; as the drift of a passion.

4. Course of any thing; tendency; aim; main force; as the drift of reasoning or argument; the drift of a discourse.

5. Any thing driven by force, as a drift of dust; a log or a raft driven by a stream of water, without guidance.

6. A shower; a number of things driven at once; as a drift of bullets.

7. In mining, a passage cut between shaft and shaft; a passage within the earth.

8. In navigation, the angle which the line of a ships motion makes with the nearest meridian, when she drives with her side to the wind and waves, and is not governed by the helm. Also, the distance which the ship drives on that line.

9. The drift of a current, is its angle and velocity.

DRIFT, verb intransitive

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

2. To float or be driven along by a current of water; as, the ship drifted astern; a raft drifted ashore.

DRIFT, verb transitive To drive into heaps; as, a current of wind drifts snow or sand.