There are three main definitions of this particularly useful word. As the spelling suggests it is related to ‘buoy’ and as an adjective it is similar in meaning. Firstly the meaning is as able or tending to keep afloat. It can also mean cheerful and optimistic or engaged in much activity, when talking about an economy or market. This word can even refer to elasticity of spirit. Also, unexpectedly for some, it can apply to both floating in water or in the air, and if we are to seek further a field, perhaps it could mean floating in space as oppose to falling into a gravity field such as that of a planet or moon.

Because there is not really a Latin root for this word, the implication is that its a relatively new word. However there are related Spanish and French words. The Spanish verb ‘boyar’ means to float and the French word is ‘buoyant’. Both these foreign words are believed to date back to the sixteenth century.

Somehow the emergence of this word could indirectly be related to the discoveries of Galileo or perhaps like a new idea accidentally shared between two people who do not know each other. In this way the limits of the time were surpassed and we are left with a word which really is at the frontier of current knowledge and understanding. Maybe in the future at some point we will use the word buoyant in much the same way as the word amphibian has been used previously.

air balloons sea buoy floating bottle on water

Copyright © 2015 Jason Romanenko