waft (wäft, wăft)
v. waft·ed, waft·ing, wafts
To cause to go gently and smoothly through the air or over water: The breeze wafted the fog through the fields.
To float easily and gently, as on the air; drift: The smell of soup wafted from the kitchen.
1. Something, such as an odor, that is carried through the air: a waft of perfume.
2. A light breeze; a rush of air: felt the waft of the sea breeze.
3. The act or action of fluttering or waving: the waft of her dress.
4. Nautical A flag used for signaling or indicating wind direction. Also called waif2.
[Back-formation from wafter, convoy ship, alteration of Middle English waughter, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German wachter, a guard, from wachten, to guard; see weg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.