There are two types of linguistic drift, a unidirectional short-term and cyclic long-term drift.

The above text is a snippet from Wikipedia: Drift (linguistics)
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  1. A driving; a violent movement.
  2. The act or motion of drifting; the force which impels or drives; an overpowering influence or impulse.
  3. A place (a ford) along a river where the water is shallow enough to permit crossing to the opposite side.
  4. Course or direction along which anything is driven; setting.
  5. The tendency of an act, argument, course of conduct, or the like; object aimed at or intended; intention; hence, also, import or meaning of a sentence or discourse; aim.
  6. That which is driven, forced, or urged along.
  7. Anything driven at random.
  8. A mass of matter which has been driven or forced onward together in a body, or thrown together in a heap, etc., especially by wind or water.
    a drift of snow, of ice, of sand, etc.
  9. A drove or flock, as of cattle, sheep, birds.
  10. The horizontal thrust or pressure of an arch or vault upon the abutments.
  11. A collection of loose earth and rocks, or boulders, which have been distributed over large portions of the earth's surface, especially in latitudes north of forty degrees, by the retreat of continental glaciers, such as that which buries former river valleys and creates young river valleys.
  12. A slightly tapered tool of steel for enlarging or shaping a hole in metal, by being forced or driven into or through it; a broach.
  13. A tool used in driving down compactly the composition contained in a rocket, or like firework.
  14. A deviation from the line of fire, peculiar to oblong projectiles.
  15. A passage driven or cut between shaft and shaft; a driftway; a small subterranean gallery; an adit or tunnel.
  16. The distance through which a current flows in a given time.
  17. The angle which the line of a ship's motion makes with the meridian, in drifting.
  18. The distance to which a vessel is carried off from her desired course by the wind, currents, or other causes.
  19. The place in a deep-waisted vessel where the sheer is raised and the rail is cut off, and usually terminated with a scroll, or driftpiece.
  20. The distance between the two blocks of a tackle.
  21. The difference between the size of a bolt and the hole into which it is driven, or between the circumference of a hoop and that of the mast on which it is to be driven.
  22. A sideways movement of the ball through the air, when bowled by a spin bowler.
  23. Driftwood included in flotsam washed up onto the beach.


  1. To move slowly, pushed by currents of water, air, etc.
    The boat drifted away from the shore.
    The balloon was drifting in the breeze.
  2. To move haphazardly without any destination.
    He drifted from town to town, never settling down.
  3. To deviate gently from the intended direction of travel.
    This car tends to drift left at high speeds.
  4. To drive or carry, as currents do a floating body.
  5. To drive into heaps.
    A current of wind drifts snow or sand.
  6. To accumulate in heaps by the force of wind; to be driven into heaps.
    Snow or sand drifts.
  7. To make a drift; to examine a vein or ledge for the purpose of ascertaining the presence of metals or ores; to follow a vein; to prospect.
  8. To enlarge or shape, as a hole, with a drift.
  9. To oversteer a vehicle, causing loss of traction, while maintaining control from entry to exit of a corner. See .

The above text is a snippet from Wiktionary: drift
and as such is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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