General English

General Science

  • noun a slow movement or change


  • verb to float in the air onto areas which are not to be sprayed


  • noun movement away from the desired course, created by wind blowing at an angle to the intended direction of flight
  • verb to move away from the desired course


  • verb to move gradually in a particular direction

Cars & Driving

  • noun a piece of bar or a punch used with a hammer to drive components in and out of place for removal and installation


  • In a water-spraying system, the entrained, unevaporated water picked up by the air movement through it.
  • In aerial surveying, the angle at which a plane must crab, or turn its nose into the wind, in order to flya predetermined line.
  • A natural deposit of loose material such as rock or sand.
  • The lateral movement or deflection of a structure.


  • verb (of the ball) to curve gently into or away from the batsman while in flight
    Citation ‘If I am bowling an inswinging yorker wide of the crease there is a good chance it will drift down leg’ (Wasim Akram, Cricinfo Magazine January 2006, p69)


  • A gradual and undesired change in a characteristic or a set adjustment of a component, circuit, device, instrument, piece of equipment, or system. Examples include frequency drift, thermal drift, or changes in power output. Also called long-term drift (1).
  • In a semiconductor material, the movement of charge carriers under the influence of an electric field.


  • noun the effects of a current or wind on the course of a ship or aircraft
  • noun in south Africa, a ford


  • verb to leave, go away, escape. The word is sometimes in the imperative form, meaning ‘get lost’; otherwise it is a cool or ‘tough-guy’ synonym for to ‘go’.

Origin & History of “drift”

Drift comes ultimately from the same Germanic base as produced drive, and etymologically means ‘driving or being driven’, but as far as we can tell it did not exist in Old English, and the word as we now have it is a borrowing from other Germanic languages. Its first recorded use is in the sense ‘snowdrift’, which points to Old Norse drift as the source, but later more general applications were probably reinforced by Dutch drift.