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float +‎ -er



floater (plural floaters)

  1. One who or that which floats in a liquid or gas.
    1. A small suet dumpling put into soup
      • 2011, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, The Fallen Kings:
        About an hour later a ration lorry found them, and the men were woken again, this time to a good meal of bully stew and floaters – suet dumplings – followed by cold rice pudding with jam.
    2. (Australia) A pie floater.
    3. (police jargon) A corpse floating in a body of water.
      • 2017, E. J. Stauffer, The Drowning:
        A dock worker saw him floating against a dock pier and called the police. Condition of the body they thought a floater that had been hit by a boat and cut by the prop.
    4. (vulgar) A piece of faeces that floats.
      He left a floater in the toilet.
    5. (basketball) Early layup taken by a player moving towards the rim where, upon release, the ball floats in the air over the top of a defender before dropping softly into the hoop.
      • 2014, Tarrence Garrison, Basketball Essentials:
        The floater is a high arcing shot that is commonly used to get the ball over taller defenders in the paint.
      • 1991, Michael Tippett, Those twentieth century blues: an autobiography, page 143:
        'Floaters' [i.e. unofficially circulated books] had also come into the prison: you could either find them in the library, or they would be given []
      • 2000, Julian Broadhead, Laura Kerr, Prison Writing: A Collection of Fact, Fiction and Verse, page 9:
        His books were 'floaters', banned by the borstal, but copies were smuggled in and from wing to wing.
  2. A person without a lasting affiliation, role, or position normally expected.
    1. An employee of a company who does not have fixed tasks to do but fills in wherever needed, usually when someone else is away.
    2. (sports) A player not affiliated with a team.
    3. (politics) A voter who shifts from party to party, especially one whose vote can be purchased.
    4. (politics, US) A person, such as a delegate to a convention or a member of a legislature, who represents an irregular constituency, such as one formed by a union of the voters of two counties neither of which has a number sufficient to be allowed a (or an extra) representative of its own.
    5. (US, politics) One who votes illegally in various polling places or election districts, either under false registration made by himself or under the name of some properly registered person who has not already voted.
    6. An "extra" male at a dinner party, or a young friend of the hostess, whose assignment is to entertain the female guests.
    7. (slang, by extension) Someone who attaches themselves to a group of people, much to the dismay of that group, and repeatedly shows up to participate in group activities despite attempts to get rid of, or “flush,” said individual.
  3. (ophthalmology) A threadlike speck in the visual field that seems to move, possibly caused by degeneration of the vitreous humour.
    Synonym: musca volitans
  4. (insurance) A policy covering property at more than one location or which may be in transit.
  5. (finance) A floating rate bond.
  6. (surfing) A maneuver in which a surfer transitions above the unbroken face of the wave onto the lip, or on top of the breaking section of the wave.
  7. (two-up) A coin which does not spin when thrown in the air.
    • 1998, Queensland government, Casino Gaming Amendment Rule (No. 2) 1998[1], archived from the original on 30 July 2004:
      In this section "floater" means a spin in which at least 1 of the coins does not turn over in the air at least once.
  8. (prison slang) A book circulated between prisoners that is not part of the official prison library.
  9. (India) A sandal.
  10. A river mussel of genus Anodonta.
  11. (slang) A misstep; a faux pas.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:error
    • 1949, P.G. Wodehouse, The Mating Season:
      I must let her know I'm here and put her in touch with the general situation so she will be warned against making any floaters.

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