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From Middle English buoy, boye (a float), from Middle Dutch boeye (a float, signal) or Middle French bouee, boue ("a float, marker, buoy"; < Middle Dutch), from Old Dutch *bōkan, *boukan (signal, beacon), from Old Frankish *boukan, *baukan (signal, beacon), from Proto-Germanic *baukną (sign, signal, portent), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeh₂- (to glow, light, shine). More at beacon.



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buoy (plural buoys)

  1. (nautical) A float moored in water to mark a location, warn of danger, or indicate a navigational channel.
  2. A life-buoy.



buoy (third-person singular simple present buoys, present participle buoying, simple past and past participle buoyed)

  1. (transitive) To keep afloat or aloft; used with up.
  2. (transitive) To support or maintain at a high level.
    • Burke
      Those old prejudices, which buoy up the ponderous mass of his nobility, wealth, and title.
  3. (transitive) To mark with a buoy.
    to buoy an anchor; to buoy or buoy off a channel
    • Darwin
      Not one rock near the surface was discovered which was not buoyed by this floating weed.
  4. To maintain or enhance enthusiasm or confidence
    • 2013, Daniel Taylor, Danny Welbeck leads England's rout of Moldova but hit by Ukraine ban (in The Guardian, 6 September 2013)[1]
      It ended up being a bittersweet night for England, full of goals to send the crowd home happy, buoyed by the news that Montenegro and Poland had drawn elsewhere in Group H but also with a measure of regret about what happened to Danny Welbeck and what it means for Roy Hodgson's team going into a much more difficult assignment against Ukraine.
    Buoyed by the huge success, they announced two other projects.
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