waft

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Back-formation from wafter (armed convoy ship), alteration of Middle English waughter, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German wachter (a guard), from to guard. The current senses derive from the original sense of "be carried by water". See also waif.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

waft (third-person singular simple present wafts, present participle wafting, simple past and past participle wafted)

  1. (ergative) To (cause to) float easily or gently through the air.
    • A breeze came in through the open window and wafted her sensuous perfume into my eager nostrils.
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses Chapter 13
      Through the open window of the church the fragrant incense was wafted and with it the fragrant names of her who was conceived without stain of original sin…
    • 1914, Hugh G. Evelyn-White’s translation of Hymn to Aphrodite from the Homeric Hymns.[1]
      There the moist breath of the western wind wafted her over the waves of the loud-moaning sea in soft foam, and there the gold-filleted Hours welcomed her joyously.
  2. (intransitive) To be moved, or to pass, on a buoyant medium; to float.
    • Dryden
      And now the shouts waft near the citadel.
  3. To give notice to by waving something; to wave the hand to; to beckon.
    • Shakespeare
      But soft: who wafts us yonder?

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

waft (plural wafts)

  1. A light breeze.
  2. Something (a scent or odor), such as a perfume, that is carried through the air.
    • 1908, Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
      Meanwhile, the wafts from his old home pleaded, whispered, conjured, and finally claimed him imperiously.
    • 2010 September, "The SLM Calendar", St. Louis magazine, ISSN 1090-5723, volume 16, issue 9, page 170:
      Patrol Magazine says of this Oxford, Miss., band: "Guitars are responsible for every noise in Colour Revolt's mix—not a single note of piano, waft of synthesizer, or evidence of electronic tampering are to be found. [] "
  3. (nautical) A flag, (also called a waif or wheft), used to indicate wind direction or, with a knot tied in the center, as a signal.