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Definition of drift:

  1. 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.
  2. A deviation from the line of fire, peculiar to oblong projectiles.
  3. A driving; a violent movement.
  4. A drove or flock, as of cattle, sheep, birds.
  5. 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.
  6. A passage driven or cut between shaft and shaft; a driftway; a small subterranean gallery; an adit or tunnel.
  7. 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.
  8. A tool used in driving down compactly the composition contained in a rocket, or like firework.
  9. Anything driven at random.
  10. Course or direction along which anything is driven; setting.
  11. In South Africa, a ford in a river.
  12. 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.
  13. That causes drifting or that is drifted; movable by wind or currents; as, drift currents; drift ice; drift mud.
  14. That which is driven, forced, or urged along
  15. The act or motion of drifting; the force which impels or drives; an overpowering influence or impulse.
  16. The angle which the line of a ship's motion makes with the meridian, in drifting.
  17. 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.
  18. The distance between the two blocks of a tackle.
  19. The distance through which a current flows in a given time.
  20. The distance to which a vessel is carried off from her desired course by the wind, currents, or other causes.
  21. 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.
  22. The horizontal thrust or pressure of an arch or vault upon the abutments.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. To accumulate in heaps by the force of wind; to be driven into heaps; as, snow or sand drifts.
  26. To drive into heaps; as, a current of wind drifts snow or sand.
  27. To drive or carry, as currents do a floating body.
  28. To enlarge or shape, as a hole, with a drift.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.


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