The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Float \Float\ (fl[=o]t), n.[OE. flote ship, boat, fleet, AS.
flota ship, fr. fle['o]tan to float; akin to D. vloot fleet,
G. floss raft, Icel. floti float, raft, fleet, Sw. flotta.
[root] 84. See Fleet, v. i., and cf. Flotilla, Flotsam,
1. Anything which floats or rests on the surface of a fluid,
as to sustain weight, or to indicate the height of the
liquid surface, or mark the place of, something.
(a) A mass of timber or boards fastened together, and
conveyed down a stream by the current; a raft.
(b) The hollow, metallic ball of a self-acting faucet,
which floats upon the water in a cistern or boiler.
(c) The cork or quill used in angling, to support the bait
line, and indicate the bite of a fish.
(d) Anything used to buoy up whatever is liable to sink;
an inflated bag or pillow used by persons learning to
swim; a life preserver.
(e) The hollow, metallic ball which floats on the fuel in
the fuel tank of a vehicle to indicate the level of
the fuel surface, and thus the amount of fuel
(f) A hollow elongated tank mounted under the wing of a
seaplane which causes the plane to float when resting
on the surface of the water.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
This reform bill . . . had been used as a float
by the conservative ministry. --J. P.
2. A float board. See Float board (below).
3. (Tempering) A contrivance for affording a copious stream
of water to the heated surface of an object of large bulk,
as an anvil or die. --Knight.
4. The act of flowing; flux; flow. [Obs.] --Bacon.
5. A quantity of earth, eighteen feet square and one foot
deep. [Obs.] --Mortimer.
6. (Plastering) The trowel or tool with which the floated
coat of plastering is leveled and smoothed.
7. A polishing block used in marble working; a runner.
8. A single-cut file for smoothing; a tool used by shoemakers
for rasping off pegs inside a shoe.
9. A coal cart. [Eng.] --Simmonds.
10. The sea; a wave. See Flote, n.
11. (Banking) The free use of money for a time between
occurrence of a transaction (such as depositing a check
or a purchase made using a credit card), and the time
when funds are withdrawn to cover the transaction; also,
the money made available between transactions in that
12. a vehicle on which an exhibit or display is mounted,
driven or pulled as part of a parade. The float often is
based on a large flat platform, and may contain a very
elaborate structure with a tableau or people.
Float board, one of the boards fixed radially to the rim of
an undershot water wheel or of a steamer's paddle wheel;
-- a vane.
Float case (Naut.), a caisson used for lifting a ship.
Float copper or Float gold (Mining), fine particles of
metallic copper or of gold suspended in water, and thus
liable to be lost.
Float ore, water-worn particles of ore; fragments of vein
material found on the surface, away from the vein outcrop.
Float stone (Arch.), a siliceous stone used to rub
stonework or brickwork to a smooth surface.
Float valve, a valve or cock acted upon by a float. See