buoy (bē, boi)
1. A float placed in water and usually moored, as to mark a location, enable retrieval of a sunken object, or record oceanographic data.
2. A life buoy.
tr.v. buoyed, buoy·ing, buoys
1. To keep afloat or aloft: a glider buoyed by air currents.
a. To maintain at a high level; support: "the persistent ... takeover speculation, which has buoyed up the shares of banks" (Financial Times).
b. To hearten or inspire; uplift: "buoyed up by the team spirit and the pride of the older generation back at home" (Judith Martin).
3. To mark with or as if with a buoy.
[Middle English boie, from Old French boue, probably of Germanic origin; see bhā-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.