A buoy is a floating marker that indicates the presence of underwater hazards, channels, or places for tying up boats. When buoy is a verb, it can mean to float like a buoy, literally or figuratively. Winning an award could buoy your spirits as if you are floating with pride.

The verb buoy can mean "boost or increase." There aren't many things that will buoy your confidence as much as repeated compliments on how great your new haircut looks. Imagine seeing water buoy up an enormous swan, or the wind buoy up a kite. A more figurative meaning of buoy is to cheer or lift someone's spirits. One way to remember buoy's unusual spelling is the phrase, "Boats usually opt to steer around a buoy."

Definitions of buoy

n bright-colored; a float attached by rope to the seabed to mark channels in a harbor or underwater hazards

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acoustic buoy
a buoy that can be heard (at night)
can, can buoy
a buoy with a round bottom and conical top
conical buoy, nun, nun buoy
a buoy resembling a cone
spar buoy
a buoy resembling a vertical log
bell buoy, gong buoy
a buoy with a bell on it
whistle buoy, whistling buoy
a buoy that makes a whistling noise
Type of:
point of reference, reference, reference point
an indicator that orients you generally

v keep afloat

“The life vest buoyed him up”
buoy up
Type of:
hold, hold up, support, sustain
be the physical support of; carry the weight of

v float on the surface of water

Type of:
float, swim
be afloat either on or below a liquid surface and not sink to the bottom

v mark with a buoy

Type of:
designate as if by a mark

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