Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A flat structure, typically made of planks, logs, or barrels, that floats on water and is used for transport or as a platform for swimmers.
  • n. A flatbottom inflatable craft for floating or drifting on water: shooting the rapids in a rubber raft.
  • transitive v. To convey on a raft.
  • transitive v. To make into a raft.
  • intransitive v. To travel by raft.
  • n. Informal A great number, amount, or collection: "As the prairie dog goes, conservation biologists say, so may go a raft of other creatures” ( William K. Stevens).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A flat structure made of planks, barrels etc., that floats on water, and is used for transport, emergencies or a platform for swimmers.
  • n. A flat-bottomed inflatable craft for floating or drifting on water.
  • n. A thick crowd of seabirds or sea mammals.
  • v. to convey on a raft
  • v. to make into a raft
  • v. to travel by raft
  • n. A large (but unspecified) number, a lot.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • imp. & p. p. of reave.
  • n. A collection of logs, boards, pieces of timber, or the like, fastened together, either for their own collective conveyance on the water, or to serve as a support in conveying other things; a float.
  • n. A collection of logs, fallen trees, etc. (such as is formed in some Western rivers of the United States), which obstructs navigation.
  • n. A large collection of people or things taken indiscriminately.
  • transitive v. To transport on a raft, or in the form of a raft; to make into a raft.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A beam; spar; rafter.
  • n. A sort of float or framework formed of logs, planks, or other pieces of timber fastened or lashed together side by side, for the convenience of transporting the constituent materials down rivers, across harbors, etc.
  • n. A structure similarly formed of any materials for the floating or transportation of persons or things.
  • n. An accumulation of driftwood from fallen trees in a river, lodged and compacted so as to form a permanent obstruction.
  • n. A conglomeration of eggs of some animals, as certain insects and mollusks, fastened together and forming a. mass; a float. See cut under Ianthina.
  • To transport or float on a raft.
  • To make a raft of; form into a raft.
  • To manage a raft; work upon a raft or rafts; travel by raft.
  • n. A miscellaneous collection or heap; a promiscuous lot: used slightingly: as, a raft of papers; a whole raft of things to be attended to.
  • n. A damp fusty smell.
  • n. An obsolete preterit and past participle of reave.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make into a raft
  • n. a flat float (usually made of logs or planks) that can be used for transport or as a platform for swimmers
  • v. transport on a raft
  • v. travel by raft in water
  • n. (often followed by `of') a large number or amount or extent

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old Norse raptr, beam, rafter.
Alteration of dialectal raff, rubbish; see raffish.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Alteration of raff. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Horror of Horrors -- capital H's -- to both Horrors -- instead of leading me to the 'cradle,' which I called a raft, he took me to a little square board held up by two crossed iron arms, called a 'buggy.'

    Scientific American, Volume XXXVI., No. 8, February 24, 1877 A Weekly Journal of Practical Information, Art, Science, Mechanics, Chemistry, and Manufactures.

  • The sheer beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert and the power of the river work their magicuntil the raft is lost in the rapids and a young college student falls overboard, resulting in an even more grisly discovery.

    Borderline by Nevada Barr: Book summary

  • On February 1, 1966 the four-man life raft from the aircraft was found off the coast of North Vietnam approximately 152 miles from the last known position of the aircraft.

    Templin, Erwin B. Jr.

  • This particular raft is designed to automatically inflate when immersed in salt water.

    Templin, Erwin B. Jr.

  • The slight emphasis he contrived to put on the word raft sent a colder shiver down my spine than the iced water had done.

    A Far Country — Volume 1

  • This refers to a raft of policies and practices refined after "color revolutions" abroad and, at home, tens of thousands of demonstrations by workers and peasants, ethnic unrest, and the spread of mobile communications and broadband networking.

    NYT > Global Home

  • Getting my 6'2 husband back into the raft was a challenge.

    There's a lot to see and do in Veracruz, Mexico

  • Publicly at least, the consumer-genomics companies have welcomed the prospect of federal regulation, not least because it would help differentiate between the companies trying to do this properly and what Robert Green calls a raft of essentially fraudulent companies selling genetic snake oil that is being foisted on people. . .

    The $1,000 Genome

  • Once a one-way ride on a raft was the only ticket out of Cuba, and there are still plenty of those: as of last weekend, nearly 600 "floaters," as the U.S.

    The Plane People Of Miami

  • Also lying in the center of the raft was the newly constructed ramp for moving the horses onboard.

    Genellan- Planetfall

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    November 16, 2007