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float (one's) boat

To make someone happy. Often used in the phrase "whatever floats (one's) boat." A: "What do you want for dinner?" B: "Whatever floats your boat, I'm not even hungry." I think this new job in the lab will really float Isabel's boat.
See also: boat, float

float an idea

To suggest something in order to gauge interest in it or others' perception of it. Can you float the idea of closing the office early on Fridays in the summer, to see how management reacts?
See also: float, idea

not float (one's) boat

To not be particularly enjoyable, desirable, or exciting to someone. A: "They're showing Casablanca in the student theater, do you want to go?" B: "No thanks, black and white movies don't really float my boat." Well, the thought of spending my weekend weeding the back yard for a few bucks doesn't exactly float my boat, Dad.
See also: boat, float, not

whatever floats (one's) boat

Whatever makes one happy; whatever interests or excites (one). Most often heard as "whatever floats your boat." A: "What do you want for dinner?" B: "Whatever floats your boat, I'm not even hungry." Katelyn does whatever floats her boat without worrying about what other people think of her.
See also: boat, float, whatever

sink or swim

1. verb To either be successful right away or succumb to failure. The teacher expects you to have all the background material already learned, so you'll have to sink or swim the moment you start the course.
2. noun A situation in which one must either be successful right away or succumb to failure. In such a competitive business, it's always sink or swim for new companies looking to enter the market.
See also: sink, swim

float a trial balloon

To suggest something in order to get feedback on it. The phrase alludes to the now outdated use of balloons to get information about the weather. When everyone objected to my idea, I reassured them that I was just floating a trial balloon and had not made any sort of decision on the matter.
See also: balloon, float, trial

float a loan

Fig. to get a loan of money; to arrange for a loan of money. I couldn't afford to pay cash for the car, so I floated a loan. They needed money, so they had to float a loan.
See also: float, loan

float around

to float from here to there freely. All sorts of paper and trash were floating around on the surface of the pond. Water hyacinths floated around, making a very tropical scene.
See also: around, float

float into something

1. Lit. to move on water or in air into something. The huge cruise ship floated majestically into the harbor. The kite floated into a tree and was ruined.
2. Fig. to move into something gently, as if floating. She floated into the room, looking like Cinderella before midnight. Tom and Gloria floated into the theater like a king and queen. They must have rehearsed it.
See also: float

float on air

Fig. [for someone] to feel free and euphoric. I was so happy, I was floating on air. Mary was floating on air after she won first prize.
See also: air, float, on

float through something

1. Lit. to move slowly through water or air, gently. The boats floated through the water slowly and gracefully. As the clouds floated through the sky, they cast blotchy shadows on the ground.
2. Fig. [for someone] to move aimlessly through something. (As if semiconscious.) She has no ambition. She's just floating through life. He floated through his work that day. It is probably done all wrong.
See also: float, through

float (up)on something

to drift as if on the surface of something; to drift along through the air. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) The little tufts of dandelion seeds floated upon the breeze. The fluff floated on the breeze.
See also: float, on

sink or swim

Fig. to fail or succeed. (Alludes to the choices available to someone who has fallen into the water.) After I've studied and learned all I can, I have to take the test and sink or swim. It's too late to help John now. It's sink or swim for him.
See also: sink, swim

Whatever turns you on.

1. Inf. Whatever pleases or excites you is okay. Mary: Do you mind if I buy some of these flowers? Bill: Whatever turns you on. Mary: I just love to hear a raucous saxophone play some smooth jazz. Bob: Whatever turns you on, baby.
2. . Inf. a comment implying that it is strange to get so excited about something. (Essentially sarcastic.) Bob: I just go wild whenever I see pink gloves on a woman. I don't understand it. Bill: Whatever turns you on. Jane: You see, I never told anybody this, but whenever I see snow falling, I just go sort of mushy inside. Sue: Weird, Jane, weird. But, whatever turns you on.
See also: on, turn, whatever

sink or swim

Succumb or succeed, no matter what, as in Now that we've bought the farm, we'll have to make a go of it, sink or swim. This expression alludes to the former barbaric practice of throwing a suspected witch into deep water, often weighted down. In case of sinking, the victim died; in case of swimming, the victim was considered in league with the devil and therefore was executed. A related idiom, float or sink, was used by Chaucer in the late 1300s; Shakespeare had the current form in 1 Henry IV (1:3): "Or sink or swim."
See also: sink, swim

float someone's boat

If something floats your boat, you find it exciting, attractive, or interesting. Create a space for yourself: light candles, burn incense, run a bath — whatever floats your boat. I can see the band's appeal. But it doesn't float my boat.
See also: boat, float

sink or swim

If someone has to sink or swim, they have to try to succeed on their own, and whether they succeed or fail depends completely on their own efforts and abilities. After three years of teaching and support at music college, musicians are left to sink or swim in the profession. Note: You can use sink-or-swim before a noun. Tomorrow afternoon, it's sink-or-swim time, her first game.
See also: sink, swim

float a trial balloon

COMMON If someone floats a trial balloon they suggest an idea or plan in order to see what people think about it. The administration has not officially released any details of the president's economic plan, although numerous trial balloons have been floated. Note: Other verbs can be used instead of float. Weeks ago, the Tories were flying a trial balloon about banning teacher strikes. Note: You can call an idea or suggestion that is made to test public opinion a trial balloon. The idea is nothing more than a trial balloon at this point. Note: Balloons were formerly used to find out about weather conditions.
See also: balloon, float, trial

float someone's boat

appeal to or excite someone, especially sexually. informal
See also: boat, float

sink or swim

fail or succeed entirely by your own efforts.
See also: sink, swim

float/walk on ˈair

(informal) be very happy about something: When I passed my driving test, I was walking on air for days.
See also: air, float, on, walk

float somebody’s ˈboat

(informal) be what somebody likes: You can go swimming, hiking or just lie on the beach, whatever floats your boat.
See also: boat, float

ˌsink or ˈswim

(saying) be in a situation where you will either succeed without help from other people, or fail completely: The government refused to give the company any help, and just left it to sink or swim.
See also: sink, swim

float around

1. To be or move in a nonspecific or unknown location: That pen must be floating around here somewhere. The travelers floated around the countryside, stopping here and there to eat and rest.
2. To move around while suspended on the surface of a fluid without sinking; float in no particular direction: Empty bottles and other debris float around in the cove at low tide.
See also: around, float

float an air biscuit

tv. to break wind; to fart. (see also cut a muffin.) Who floated the air biscuit? P.U.
See also: air, biscuit, float

whatever turns you on

and whatever floats your boat
tv. whatever excites you or interests you. (Main entry was said originally about sexual matters.) I can’t stand that kind of music, but whatever turns you on. Ketchup on hot dogs! Yuck! But whatever floats your boat.
See also: on, turn, whatever

whatever floats your boat

See also: boat, float, whatever

sink or swim

To fail or succeed without alternative.
See also: sink, swim
References in periodicals archive ?
Introduction of Float Switch Industry: Along with Brief Introduction of Float Switch Industry it includes Development of Float Switch Industry and Status of Float Switch Industry.
Like the 2006 entry, the float was designed by Raul Rodriguez and is being built by Fiesta Floats in Duarte.
Leishman Trophy for the most beautiful non-commercial float
The donations will be used to support the volunteers, including underwriting much of the costs for busing them to the float construction site, providing T-shirts, meals and prizes, Biery said.
Four women portraying fairies - named Lavender Moon, Willow Mist, Buttercup Breeze and Autumn Rose - will ride on the float.
Palmdale officials view the float as a way to enhance city pride and are looking for residents to become involved with the project.
Fiesta was one of three float builders that responded to the city's request for float proposals.
What the float will look like has not been decided.
People who grew up here and moved away come back every year just to be a part of building the float.
BURBANK - Don Hames, 74, brings the concept of ``volunteering'' on a Rose Parade float to a whole new level.
PALMDALE - The Antelope Valley's first Tournament of Roses float in decades will roll through Pasadena as planned Saturday, although near the tail end - and on credit.
Decorated with stealth jets flying over a desert landscape of cactuses and an antelope, the float backers lack the money to finish it and to add the covering of flowers - which alone could cost $40,000 to $45,000.
Inside the ``float barn,'' the volunteers - working from what started as a black-and-white picture - are creating a hulking, 40-foot-long animated float made of steel, foam and blossoms for the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day in Pasadena.