• Giant Raft. In the background is a completed raft; in the foreground a cradle in which a raft is being built
    Giant Raft. In the background is a completed raft; in the foreground a cradle in which a raft is being built
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v raft make into a raft "raft these logs"
    • v raft travel by raft in water "Raft the Colorado River"
    • v raft transport on a raft "raft wood down a river"
    • n raft a flat float (usually made of logs or planks) that can be used for transport or as a platform for swimmers
    • n raft (often followed by `of') a large number or amount or extent "a batch of letters","a deal of trouble","a lot of money","he made a mint on the stock market","see the rest of the winners in our huge passel of photos","it must have cost plenty","a slew of journalists","a wad of money"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

The Life Raft The Life Raft
The raft of logs The raft of logs
The Wagon Raft The Wagon Raft
Using the Fort as a Raft Using the Fort as a Raft

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Raft rȧft imp. & p. p. of Reave.
    • Raft A collection of logs, boards, pieces of timber, or the like, fastened together, either for their own collective conveyance on the water, or to serve as a support in conveying other things; a float.
    • Raft A collection of logs, fallen trees, etc. (such as is formed in some Western rivers of the United States), which obstructs navigation.
    • Raft A large collection of people or things taken indiscriminately. "A whole raft of folks."
    • v. t Raft To transport on a raft, or in the form of a raft; to make into a raft; as, to raft timber.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n raft A beam; spar; rafter.
    • n raft A sort of float or framework formed of logs, planks, or other pieces of timber fastened or lashed together side by side, for the convenience of transporting the constituent materials down rivers, across harbors, etc. Rafts of logs to be floated to a distant point are often very large, strongly constructed, and carry huts for the numerous men required to manage them. Those of the Rhine are sometimes 400 or 500 feet long, with 200 or more hands. A cigar-shaped raft of large logs, 560 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 35 feet deep, was lost in December, 1887, under towage by sea from Nova Scotia to New York; but other large rafts have been successfully transported.
    • n raft A structure similarly formed of any materials for the floating or transportation of persons or things. In cases of shipwreck, planks, spars, barrels, etc., are often hastily lashed together to form a raft for escape. In passenger-vessels life-rafts frequently form part of the permanent equipment. See life-raft.
    • n raft An accumulation of driftwood from fallen trees in a river, lodged and compacted so as to form a permanent obstruction. Rafts of this kind exist or have existed in the Mississippi and other rivers of the western United States, the largest ever formed being that of the Red River, which during many years completely blocked the channel for 45 miles.
    • n raft A conglomeration of eggs of some animals, as certain insects and mollusks, fastened together and forming a. mass; a float. See cut under Ianthina.
    • raft To transport or float on a raft.
    • raft To make a raft of; form into a raft.
    • raft To manage a raft; work upon a raft or rafts; travel by raft.
    • n raft A miscellaneous collection or heap; a promiscuous lot: used slightingly: as, a raft of papers; a whole raft of things to be attended to.
    • n raft A damp fusty smell.
    • n raft An obsolete preterit and past participle of reave.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Raft raft (U.S.) a miscellaneous or promiscuous lot.
    • n Raft raft a collection of pieces of timber fastened together for a support on the water: planks conveyed by water
    • v.t Raft to transport on a raft: to form into a raft
    • v.i Raft to manage a raft, travel by raft
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Originally, a rafter, spar, and fr. Icel. raptr, a rafter; akin to Dan. raft, Prov. G. raff, a rafter, spar; cf. OHG. rāfo, rāvo, a beam, rafter, Icel. rāf, roof. Cf. Rafter (n.)


In literature:

The raft, still incomplete, remained on deck.
"Owen Hartley; or, Ups and Downs" by William H. G. Kingston
There was no one near the little raft.
"Field and Forest" by Oliver Optic
A little later they could see enough to determine that the assailants consisted of four Indians, on a raft.
"Hope and Have" by Oliver Optic
After dark I crossed the road into the jungle skirting the beach, carrying my raft, and deposited it on the sand.
"Bidwell's Travels, from Wall Street to London Prison" by Austin Biron Bidwell
He accordingly promptly issued orders for the formation of a raft.
"The Three Midshipmen" by W.H.G. Kingston
It is necessary to keep along the rivers in a canoe or raft, else you cannot get from place to place.
"The Forest Exiles" by Mayne Reid
Build thee a raft of the trunks of trees which thou shalt hew down.
"Odysseus, the Hero of Ithaca" by Homer
In a few minutes they were flying over the water towards the raft.
"Young Glory and the Spanish Cruiser" by Walter Fenton Mott
I'm going to the raft.
"The Cricket" by Marjorie Cooke
His little raft was made all ready.
"The Border Watch" by Joseph A. Altsheler

In poetry:

Dainty foot and tender heart,
Wait the loaded ferry-raft.
"Wait, ah, wait!" the ripple saith;
"Maiden, wait, for I am Death!"
"A Ripple Song" by Rudyard Kipling
"Many a crew from many a craft
Goes drifting by on a broken raft
Pieced from a vessel that clove the brine
Taller and prouder than 'Twenty-nine.
"The Old Cruiser" by Oliver Wendell Holmes
But one drear night the stars withdrew
As Basil reach'd his shed ;
The drifting torrent rattled rude
On the creaking rafts of shatter'd wood,
That stretch'd above his head.
"Basil" by Anne Bannerman
All,— but the clingers to some sinking boat
Lost in the fog, or on that raft — Despair;
One — only one of seventy! — lingereth there,
While buoy'd around him upturn'd corpses float!
"The Lost Arctic " by Martin Farquhar Tupper
I've tramped across her endless miles of tundra,
I've rafted all her rapid flowing streams,
She's kept me on the hummer,
I've fought mosquits in summer
And "siwashed" neath Aurora's wintry beams,
And still, I like Alaska.
"And Still I Like Alaska" by Pat O Cotter
Her prayer, also, is answered, for see, the roof is bare!
The current swept the slippery raft, the maiden is not there!
An angel band descended, her lover led the way,
And now she joins her loved and lost in realms of endless day!
"The Johnstown Disaster, 1889" by Joseph Horatio Chant

In news:

Boys 11 and older who think camping, hiking, canoeing, rappelling, archery, shooting rifles, learning survival skills, whitewater rafting, skiing and making boats out of duct tape sound like fun should think about joining Boy Scout s.
Raft River v Butte County.
Raft with Cuban refugees sinks near Cancun .
Two people drowned and at least 11 went missing, when a raft bearing 23 refugees from Cuba sank off the coast of Isla de Mujeres, near Cancun , Mexico Friday, according to immigration authorities.
Salt River Canyon Wilderness rafting permit applications available online through Jan.15, 2013.
PHOENIX – Rafting permit applications for the Salt River Canyon Wilderness are now available for the 2013 season.
Starting Monday a raft of laws approved by the state legislature take effect.
They paddle raft eight miles to island.
With the Kindle, Nook, a raft of new e-readers comes an issue well known to early adopters: what's next.
This whitewater-rafting game is part of the Kinect Adventures for Xbox 360, designed to be played with the Kinect sensor attachment.
Players lean their bodies one way or another to steer the raft.
Rafting season is here, and local rivers are rushing -- and even flooding.
We've had several stories during the last few weeks about the rafting company whose owner and guide are no in trouble due the tragic drowning of a client last month in the Adirondacks.
White-water rafting in Costa Rica.
It is clear that the election results, which came as a genuine shock to a raft of G.O.P.

In science:

The filled areas describe the paleolatitudinal distribution of ice rafted debris [103].
The Spiral Structure of the Milky Way, Cosmic Rays, and Ice Age Epochs on Earth
The field grew quickly when it was observed that some signaling proteins preferred the raft environment.
Biological and synthetic membranes: What can be learned from a coarse-grained description?
As interesting as this would be, and it would be very interesting indeed, one could then try to understand the observation that rafts act as a nucleation site for the fusion process.
Biological and synthetic membranes: What can be learned from a coarse-grained description?
Functions of lipid rafts in biological membranes.
Biological and synthetic membranes: What can be learned from a coarse-grained description?
Lipid rafts reconstituted in model membranes.
Biological and synthetic membranes: What can be learned from a coarse-grained description?