A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Drift (noun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 651

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 651

Drift. n.s. [from drive.]

  1. Force impellent; impulse; overbearing influence.

    A man being under the drift of any passion, will still follow the impulse of it, 'till something interpose, and, by a stronger impulse, turn him another way. South's Sermons.

  2. Violence; course.

    The mighty trunk, half rent with rugged rift,
    Doth roll adown the rocks, and fall with fearful drift.
    F. Q.

  3. Any thing driven at random.

    Some log, perhaps, upon the waters swam,
    An useless drift, which rudely cut within,
    And hollow'd, first a floating trough became,
    And cross some riv'let passage did begin.
    Dryd. Ann. Mirab.

  4. Any thing driven or born along in a body.

                    The ready racers stand,
    Swift as on wings of wind up-borne they fly,
    And drifts of rising dust involve the sky.
    Pope's Odyssey.

  5. A storm; a shower.

                    Our thunder from the South
    Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town.
    Shak. K. John.

  6. A heap or stratum of any matter thrown together by the wind; as, a snowdrift, a deep body of snow.

  7. Tendency, or aim of action.

    The particular drift of every act, proceeding eternally from God, we are not able to discern; and therefore cannot always give the proper and certain reason of his works. Hook.

    Their drift 'comes known, and they discover'd are;
    For some, of many, will be false of course.
    Daniel's C. War.

  8. Scope of a discourse.

    The main drift of his book being to prove, that what is true is impossible to be false, he opposes nobody. Tillot. Pref.

    The drift of the pamphlet is to stir up our compassion towards the rebels. Addison.

    This by the stile, the manner, and the drift,
    'Twas thought could be the work of none but Swift.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Daniel, Samuel (28) · Dryden, John (788) · Hooker, Richard (175) · Shakespeare's King John (43) · Pope, Alexander (393) · South, Robert (158) · Spenser, Edmund (254) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Tillotson, John (68)

Attributes: Noun Substantive (1269)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Drift (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: May 9, 2014. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/drift-noun/.

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