From 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.
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                This reform bill . . . had been used as a float
                by the conservative ministry.     --J. P.
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   2. A float board. See Float board (below).
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   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.
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   4. The act of flowing; flux; flow. [Obs.] --Bacon.
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   5. A quantity of earth, eighteen feet square and one foot
      deep. [Obs.] --Mortimer.
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   6. (Plastering) The trowel or tool with which the floated
      coat of plastering is leveled and smoothed.
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   7. A polishing block used in marble working; a runner.
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   8. A single-cut file for smoothing; a tool used by shoemakers
      for rasping off pegs inside a shoe.
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   9. A coal cart. [Eng.] --Simmonds.
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   10. The sea; a wave. See Flote, n.
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   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
      Float, 1
       (b) .
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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Float \Float\, v. t.
   1. To cause to float; to cause to rest or move on the surface
      of a fluid; as, the tide floated the ship into the harbor.
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            Had floated that bell on the Inchcape rock.
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   2. To flood; to overflow; to cover with water.
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            Proud Pactolus floats the fruitful lands. --Dryden.
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   3. (Plastering) To pass over and level the surface of with a
      float while the plastering is kept wet.
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   4. To support and sustain the credit of, as a commercial
      scheme or a joint-stock company, so as to enable it to go
      into, or continue in, operation.
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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Float \Float\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Floated; p. pr. & vb. n.
   Floating.] [OE. flotien, flotten, AS. flotian to float,
   swim, fr. fle['o]tan. See Float, n.]
   1. To rest on the surface of any fluid; to swim; to be buoyed
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            The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground.
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            Three blustering nights, borne by the southern
            I floated.                            --Dryden.
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   2. To move quietly or gently on the water, as a raft; to
      drift along; to move or glide without effort or impulse on
      the surface of a fluid, or through the air.
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            They stretch their broad plumes and float upon the
            wind.                                 --Pope.
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            There seems a floating whisper on the hills.
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