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4 definitions found
 for continental drift
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Continental drift \Continental drift\
     the movements of continents relative to each other across the
     Earth's surface; see plate tectonics.

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Drift \Drift\, n. [From drive; akin to LG. & D. drift a
     driving, Icel. drift snowdrift, Dan. drift, impulse, drove,
     herd, pasture, common, G. trift pasturage, drove. See
     1. A driving; a violent movement.
        [1913 Webster]
              The dragon drew him [self] away with drift of his
              wings.                                --King
        [1913 Webster]
     2. The act or motion of drifting; the force which impels or
        drives; an overpowering influence or impulse.
        [1913 Webster]
              A bad man, being under the drift of any passion,
              will follow the impulse of it till something
              interpose.                            --South.
        [1913 Webster]
     3. Course or direction along which anything is driven;
        setting. "Our drift was south." --Hakluyt.
        [1913 Webster]
     4. 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.
        [1913 Webster]
              He has made the drift of the whole poem a compliment
              on his country in general.            -- Addison.
        [1913 Webster]
              Now thou knowest my drift.            --Sir W.
        [1913 Webster]
     5. That which is driven, forced, or urged along; as:
        (a) Anything driven at random. "Some log . . . a useless
            drift." --Dryden.
        (b) A mass of matter which has been driven or forced
            onward together in a body, or thrown together in a
            heap, etc., esp. by wind or water; as, a drift of
            snow, of ice, of sand, and the like.
            [1913 Webster]
                  Drifts of rising dust involve the sky. -- Pope.
            [1913 Webster]
                  We got the brig a good bed in the rushing drift
                  [of ice].                         --Kane.
        (c) A drove or flock, as of cattle, sheep, birds. [Obs.]
            [1913 Webster]
                  Cattle coming over the bridge (with their great
                  drift doing much damage to the high ways). --
            [1913 Webster]
     6. (Arch.) The horizontal thrust or pressure of an arch or
        vault upon the abutments. [R.] --Knight.
        [1913 Webster]
     7. (Geol.) 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 agency of ice.
        [1913 Webster]
     8. In South Africa, a ford in a river.
        [1913 Webster]
     9. (Mech.) 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.
        [1913 Webster]
     10. (Mil.)
         (a) A tool used in driving down compactly the composition
             contained in a rocket, or like firework.
         (b) A deviation from the line of fire, peculiar to oblong
             [1913 Webster]
     11. (Mining) A passage driven or cut between shaft and shaft;
         a driftway; a small subterranean gallery; an adit or
         [1913 Webster]
     12. (Naut.)
         (a) The distance through which a current flows in a given
         (b) The angle which the line of a ship's motion makes
             with the meridian, in drifting.
         (c) The distance to which a vessel is carried off from
             her desired course by the wind, currents, or other
         (d) 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.
         (e) The distance between the two blocks of a tackle.
             [1913 Webster]
     13. 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.
         [1913 Webster]
     14. (Phys. Geog.) One of the slower movements of oceanic
         circulation; a general tendency of the water, subject to
         occasional or frequent diversion or reversal by the wind;
         as, the easterly drift of the North Pacific.
         [Webster 1913 Suppl.]
     15. (A["e]ronautics) The horizontal component of the pressure
         of the air on the sustaining surfaces of a flying
         machine. The lift is the corresponding vertical
         component, which sustains the machine in the air.
         [Webster 1913 Suppl.]
     Note: Drift is used also either adjectively or as the first
           part of a compound. See Drift, a.
           [1913 Webster]
     Drift of the forest (O. Eng. Law), an examination or view
        of the cattle in a forest, in order to see whose they are,
        whether they are commonable, and to determine whether or
        not the forest is surcharged. --Burrill. [1913 Webster]
     continental drift (Geology), the very slow (ca. 1-5 cm per
        year) movement of the continents and parts of continents
        relative to each other and to the points of upwelling of
        magma in the viscous layers beneath the continents; --
        causing, for example, the opening of the South Atlantic
        Ocean by the movement of Africa and South America away
        from each other. See also plate tectonics.

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  continental drift
      n 1: the gradual movement and formation of continents (as
           described by plate tectonics)

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (30 December 2018) :

  continental drift
      Very, very slow.  In 1980 David Turner remarked that
     KRC ran "at the speed of the continental drift".

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