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I think there's another meaning in finance, closely related to the one already noted here. The word is not only used to refer to the price of a security "being regulated by market forces", but also to "bringing a security to the market to become floated", i.e making stocks public, isn't it? I think it is used in this meaning in the Economist's "The World in 2008" on page 122. ML-et 23:40, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, I guess I only read through the intransitive verbs section and this meaning is already noted in the transitive verbs section.ML-et 11:39, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

float like a butterfly‎ , float one's boat


In Latin there is fluctuare, origin of Italian fluttuare, translated with the English to float... [1]-- 22:57, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

First of all, fluctuo isn't a good translation of the primary sense of float,"to be supported by a liquid"- that would probably be fluito. It's closer to the sense "to drift or wander aimlessly", since the idea behind it is being unstable and changing/moving, as in its descendant fluctuate.
Second, the English word has a continuous history going back to Old English flotian or fleotan, and cognates are found in a great many Germanic languages, with sound changes that show a common inheritance. In order for it to have come from Latin, it would have to have been a very early borrowing into Proto-Germanic. That's unlikely, since a very basic word like this isn't borrowed very often, and there are credible Indo-European cognates such as Ancient Greek πλέω(pléō). Chuck Entz (talk) 00:31, 13 February 2016 (UTC)