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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
sink or swim
to fail or succeed Newcomers are given no training - they are simply left to sink or 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."
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.
float an air biscuit
tv. to break wind; to fart. (see also cut a muffin.) Who floated the air biscuit? P.U.
whatever turns you onand 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.
whatever floats your boatverb
sink or swimInformal
To fail or succeed without alternative.