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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 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

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

whatever floats your boat

do what makes you happy If you want to have five children you should have five - whatever floats your boat.
Usage notes: also used in the form what floats your boat: By the time you've finished high school, you've probably figured out what floats your boat.
See also: boat, float, whatever

float an idea

to suggest something informally to see if people accept it or are interested in it The mayor originally floated the idea, and it was quickly taken up by a number of city agencies.
Related vocabulary: test the waters
See also: float, idea

not float somebody'sboat

  (informal)
If something does not float your boat, you do not enjoy it or want it. The idea of crawling through an underground cave doesn't really float my boat.
See also: boat, float, not

sink or swim

to fail or succeed Newcomers are given no training - they are simply left to sink or swim.
See also: sink, swim

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 around

v.
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

verb
See also: boat, float, whatever

sink or swim

Informal
To fail or succeed without alternative.
See also: sink, swim
References in classic literature ?
Slowly, inch by inch, they floated on, and the fish tugged and tugged and kept them going.
The fish did not give up, but held the raft bravely on its course, till at last the water in the river shifted again and floated them the way they wanted to go.
And in each stage countless millions of other eggs were deposited in the warm pools of the various races and floated down to the great sea to go through a similar process of evolution outside the womb as develops our own young within; but in Caspak the scheme is much more inclusive, for it combines not only individual development but the evolution of species and genera.
His eyes still rested upon the opening when there shot downward from it to the water below the naked body of a human being which almost immediately rose to the surface again and floated off down the stream.
Then he fell gently to the surface of the stream and lying upon his back floated downward with the current and out into the open sunlight.
The bright figure of the child still floated on before me gliding low in the cloudless sky.
On the other hand he did not previously dry the plants or branches with the fruit; and this, as we have seen, would have caused some of them to have floated much longer.
Again, I can show that the carcasses of birds, when floating on the sea, sometimes escape being immediately devoured; and seeds of many kinds in the crops of floating birds long retain their vitality: peas and vetches, for instance, are killed by even a few days' immersion in sea-water; but some taken out of the crop of a pigeon, which had floated on artificial salt-water for 30 days, to my surprise nearly all germinated.
For the first time distinct ideas of danger began to press upon her; but there was no choice of courses, no room for hesitation, and she floated into the current.
She sat helpless, dimly conscious that she was being floated along, more intensely conscious of the anticipated clash.