floating or borne on the water; in a floating condition:
The ship was set afloat.
on board a ship, boat, raft, etc.; at sea:
cargo afloat and ashore.
covered with water; flooded; awash:
The main deck was afloat.
moving without being guided or controlled; drifting.
passing from place to place; in circulation:
A rumor is afloat.
free of major trouble, especially financially solvent:
to keep a venture afloat.
Contemporary Examples

Sheldon Adelson kept Newt afloat long after the voters stopped caring.
Mitt Romney Clinches: What We Learned From 2012 Republican Race Michelle Cottle April 24, 2012

They are the ones who generate the goods and services, the advertising dollars and tax revenue, that keep the rest of us afloat.
The Benefits of Business Experience Megan McArdle September 30, 2012

That keeps him afloat with some forward direction, especially given the upcoming primary states where he has a demographic edge.
Daily Beast Contributors Weigh In on Super Tuesday Results March 6, 2012

Historical Examples

Only the Conomo afloat, a successful pioneer in new transportation experiments alongcoast, would threaten his vested interests.
Blow The Man Down Holman Day

They were the most formidable weapons either ashore or afloat.
The World Peril of 1910 George Griffith

Vague rumors are afloat: a wholesale jail delivery had been planned, the walls were to be dynamited, the guards killed.
Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist Alexander Berkman

She had served to keep them afloat, and thus far saved their lives.
The Ocean Waifs Mayne Reid

Then I called every man to me whom I could see, and we went quickly to the place where this buss was, and she was just afloat.
King Alfred’s Viking Charles W. Whistler

When we arrived at Baltimore (nine o’clock P.M.) the wharves were afloat.
Between the Lines Henry Bascom Smith

So a new rover was afloat upon the seas, and her name before a year was over became as well known as that of the Happy Delivery.
The Dealings of Captain Sharkey A. Conan Doyle

adjective, adverb (postpositive)
aboard ship; at sea
covered with water; flooded
aimlessly drifting: afloat in a sea of indecision
in circulation; afoot: nasty rumours were afloat
free of debt; solvent

Old English aflote, on flot, from a- “on” (see a- (1)) + float (v.).


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