• WordNet 3.6
    • n drifter a wanderer who has no established residence or visible means of support
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n drifter One who or that which drifts; specifically, a cask, buoy, float, or other light object, properly labeled and tagged, and allowed to drift freely in the ocean to determine ocean-currents. When the surface of the drifter above the water is intentionally made large, relatively to the immersed portion, the drift is due principally to the influence of the surface-winds. When the drifter is not exposed to the wind it shows the influence of the ocean-currents either at the surface or at a considerable depth, depending upon the depth of the layer in which it floats. This may be regulated to some extent by an arrangement similar to that of the Cartesian and Florentine divers. Drifters are set afloat in all parts of the ocean, and their paths are shown on the monthly pilot-charts, together with the paths of derelicts.
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In literature:

That horse of his looked to me like a drifter.
"Flying U Ranch" by B. M. Bower
A casual town, created by drifters, and void of settled purpose.
"Lincoln" by Nathaniel Wright Stephenson
On this square the drifters lay all day long and told strange yams.
"The City That Was" by Will Irwin
Not jus' 'nother range drifter from the big spaces.
"Ride Proud, Rebel!" by Andre Alice Norton
In civil life, the man who flits from job to job is soon regarded as a drifter and unstable.
"The Armed Forces Officer" by U. S. Department of Defense
Tommy Watson and Whimple were fearful lest he should undertake too much, finally tire of everything, and lapse into a drifter.
"William Adolphus Turnpike" by William Banks
Been a drifter all his life.
"The Desert Fiddler" by William H. Hamby
Twenty-five thousand herring is about the burthen of an open beach drifter.
"A Poor Man's House" by Stephen Sydney Reynolds
Myra had been right, as it turned out; she was a converted drifter.
"The Mystery of the Green Ray" by William Le Queux
Mere drifters are they, creatures of circumstance, indifferently remaining where birth or events have started them.
"A Man's Value to Society" by Newell Dwight Hillis

In poetry:

If he worked as a drifter and trusted to luck,
If he managed a bunch of his own;
If he cooked at the wagon and put up the chuck,
Or held down a line camp alone.
"Introductory" by Bruce Kiskaddon
Upon the skirts of battle from Sluys to Trafalgar
We know that there were Small Craft — because there always are!
Yacht, sweeper, sloop, and drifter — to-day as yesterday
The big ships fight the battles — but Small Craft clear the way.
"Small Craft" by Cicely Fox Smith

In news:

Robert Dewey Hoskins, the 54-year-old drifter convicted of stalking Madonna in the late 1990s, is on the loose again in Southern California.
Also, a one-time drifter made wows the audience.
It's street corner harmony at its finest featuring, The Charlie Thomas Drifters, Charlie was lead singer on two of the group's top 40 hits, "Sweets For My Sweet" and "When My Little Girl Is Smiling.".
The Carolina Drifters Dont Monkey Around my Widder 0:05:34 ( ).
Philip Seymour Hoffman as "the master" entrances Joaquin Phoenix's alcoholic drifter.
Riverside Drifters Saddle Club Bulletin.
Saturday August 22 during the jury of International Surf Film Festival Ombak Bali 2009 selected the new Taylor Steele film the Drifter as best surf film 2009 out of the ten films which were in competition.
A 32-year-old drifter police believe to be the "Tiger Bandit " is facing bank robbery charges in connection with five holdups that occurred within a week, including one in Orange County, authorities announced Friday.
Evans, described by authorities as a drifter, was charged Thursday with bank robber y.
Last September a 73-year-old bird watcher in Central Park came upon a 42-year-old drifter, who already had a police record of sexual attacks, practicing solo sex in a wooded area and snapped his picture.
When stopped by police, she readily lied about her identity and said the two drifters were her parents.
The Tucson Drifters is a fun-loving group of 60 member families who live in Tucson, Arizona.
I spent the past two weekends listening to some of the greatest rock 'n' roll singers/groups of all-time — Hall of Famers such as Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, the Drifters, the Coasters, the Beach Boys, Four Seasons, Four Tops and Temptations.
A third defendant, Ivory Coast-born drifter Rudy Guede, was convicted in a separate trial of sexually assaulting and stabbing Kercher.

In science:

Ocean studies have been performed using floaters , chemical tracers , and near surface drifters.
Weak Wave Turbulence Scaling Theory for Diffusion and Relative Diffusion in Turbulent Surface Waves
The motion at sufficiently large length scales (k < kL ) may be expected to become Brownian, as also found in studies of motion of drifters near the surface of the oceans .
Weak Wave Turbulence Scaling Theory for Diffusion and Relative Diffusion in Turbulent Surface Waves