Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To cause to go gently and smoothly through the air or over water.
  • intransitive verb To float easily and gently, as on the air; drift.
  • noun Something, such as an odor, that is carried through the air.
  • noun A light breeze; a rush of air.
  • noun The act or action of fluttering or waving.
  • noun Nautical A flag used for signaling or indicating wind direction.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of one who or that which wafts; a sweep; a beckoning. Also spelled weft.
  • noun That which is blown; a breath; a blast; a puff.
  • noun A transient odor or effluvium.
  • noun Nautical, a signal displayed from a ship by hoisting a flag rolled up length wise with one or more stops.
  • To be moved or to pass in a buoyant medium; float.
  • To bear through a fluid or buoyant medium; convey through or as through water or air.
  • To buoy up; cause to float; keep from sinking.
  • To give notice by something in motion; signal to, as by waving the hand; beckon.
  • To cast lightly and quickly; turn.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To give notice to by waving something; to wave the hand to; to beckon.
  • transitive verb To cause to move or go in a wavy manner, or by the impulse of waves, as of water or air; to bear along on a buoyant medium.
  • transitive verb obsolete To cause to float; to keep from sinking; to buoy.
  • noun A wave or current of wind.
  • noun A signal made by waving something, as a flag, in the air.
  • noun obsolete An unpleasant flavor.
  • noun (Naut.) A knot, or stop, in the middle of a flag.
  • intransitive verb To be moved, or to pass, on a buoyant medium; to float.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb ergative to cause to float easily or gently through the air
  • noun A light breeze.
  • noun Something (a scent or odor), such as a perfume, that is carried through the air.
  • noun 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.

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

  • noun a long flag; often tapering
  • verb be driven or carried along, as by the air
  • verb blow gently

Etymologies

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

[Back-formation from wafter, convoy ship, alteration of Middle English waughter, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German wachter, a guard, from wachten, to guard; see weg- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

  • And for Social Services, the idea of leaving a child with a family to allow it to be beaten to a pulp is far preferable than the idea that smoke may waft from the back garden, through my lounge and up to the bedrooms.

    Public Officials Did Not Kill “Baby P” « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • If we have enjoyed the moonlight in pleasant scenes, in happy hours, with friends that we loved, – though the sight of it may not always make us directly remember them, yet it brings with it a waft from the feeling of the old times, – sweet as long as life lasts!

    The Wide, Wide World

  • It's funny how those thoughts kind of waft into your head.

    Benjamin Zander on music and passion

  • It's funny how those thoughts kind of waft into your head.

    Benjamin Zander on music and passion

  • It's funny how those thoughts kind of waft into your head.

    Benjamin Zander on music and passion

  • Every one remembers how George Fox saw a "waft" of death go out against Oliver Cromwell when he met him riding at Hampton Court the day before he was prostrated with his fatal illness.

    Real Ghost Stories

  • There came in with the man a kind of waft of the sea as he threw off his great-coat and clattered his cutlass in a corner -- a fine figure of

    The McBrides A Romance of Arran

  • With the palm of your hand facing upwards, and holding a tidbit between your first three fingers and thumb, 'waft' the tidbit in front of the dog's nose, then straight up about three inches directly above his nose, and hold it there.

    EzineArticles

  • ..thus 'waft' is nonplussedly introduced into the daily cycling lexicon...

    Intangibles: Steel is Real, but How does it Smell?

  • We let the smoke waft around us, fanning it with an eagle feather.

    Archive 2009-10-01

Comments

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  • That Satan with less toil, and now with ease

    Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light ...

    Milton, Paradise Lost II

    December 18, 2006

  • I love the way the word is spelled, how it feels, and the fact that it reminds me of Louisiana where I grew up.

    June 27, 2008

  • The smell of pine and sandalwood wafted through the cool , crisp mountain air

    August 22, 2015