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From Middle English boy, boye, from Middle Dutch boeye (float, buoy), perhaps a special use of Middle Dutch boeye (shackle, fetter), from Old French buie (fetter, chain) (compare modern bouée), probably from Frankish *baukn, or alternatively from Latin boia (a (leather) collar, band, fetter), from Ancient Greek βόεος (bóeos), βόειος (bóeios, of ox-hide), from βοῦς (boûs, ox), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷṓws (cow).



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buoy (plural buoys)

  1. (nautical) A float moored in water to mark a location, warn of danger, indicate a navigational channel or for other purposes
    • 2008, BioWare, Mass Effect, Redwood City: Electronic Arts, →ISBN, OCLC 246633669, PC, scene: Communications: Administration Codex entry:
      While comm buoys allow rapid transmission, there is a finite amount of bandwidth available. Given that trillions of people may be trying to pass a message through a given buoy at any one time, access to the network is parceled out on priority tiers.
  2. A life-buoy; a life preserver.

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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.
  3. (transitive) To mark with a buoy.
    to buoy an anchor; to buoy or buoy off a channel
    • 1839, Charles Darwin, Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. Beagle, London: Henry Colburn, Chapter 13, p. 303,[1]
      Not one rock near the surface was discovered which was not buoyed by this floating weed.
  4. To maintain or enhance enthusiasm or confidence; to lift the spirits of.
    • #*
      6 September 2013, Daniel Taylor, “Danny Welbeck leads England's rout of Moldova but hit by Ukraine ban”, in The Guardian[2]:
      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.
    • 2018, James Lambert, “A multitude of ‘lishes’: The nomenclature of hybridity”, in English World-Wide[3], page 18:
      Considering the results of the study, today John may be buoyed at the clear trend of increasing numbers of new “lishes” for each successive decade since the 1950s, and the fact that nothing in the data suggests this trend is likely to falter.
    Buoyed by the huge success, they announced two other projects.

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