Difference Between Flying and Floating

When it comes to English, there are several words in which people get confused in their usage. These words could be found in our day-to-day life.


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Flying and floating are two of the words which are focused on in this article. They have a rhyming pair but have a unique interpretation as well.  

These two words are different, which often denotes that is in movement. It is generally related to the sky. Flying is mainly in the air but floating is not necessarily to be in the air. Many other differences are highlighted in this article to clear up the confusion. 

Flying vs Floating 

The difference between flying and floating is that flying is the capability to fly in the air. On the other hand, floating is the capability to float in a fluid. The word flying is associated with aviation or air travel, whereas floating is associated with water or a type of fluid.  

Flying vs Floating

Flying is often used in examples of suspension or movement in the air or simply in the atmosphere. It also denotes the direction of movement of mechanisms such as airplanes as well as other aircraft.

Flying took place when there is support by the mechanism to the aircraft and with a lower pressure on its top and a higher pressure under the wing.  

The word floating is associated with any type of fluid or simply water. A floating object is something that is in suspension in water. This can be applied to several objects; vehicles such as boats or ships or even human or material objects like dense objects (ball). 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFlyingFloating
InterpretationThe capability to fly in the air.The capability to float in a fluid. 
AssociatedWith aviation or air travelWith water or a type of fluid
Base wordFlyFloat
SynonymsAirborne, winging, in-flight, winged, windborne, and gliding.Afloat, buoyant, hovering, levitating, hanging, and hovering
AntonymsUnelevated and ground-levelGrounded and sunken

What is Flying?

Flying is something that is generally done by planes, supermen, or birds. Just think how in the air these things move. They have direction, purpose and over their movements, they have complete control.

They can go where they are supposed or want to go, for instance from point A to B. The word flying can be clearer by going through the below examples:  

  1. The other pad of paper and pen went flying out of the window.  
  2. Toward what place when you last saw the eagle flying?  

Scientifically, it can be said that flying is to move in a direction which is forward and supports wing by the presence of under air which creates a lower pressure on top and underneath the higher pressure is created.

For instance, under the bird’s wing, which is flying uses the air current to propel them. 

What is Floating? 

Let’s take an example, in the pool, there is a beach ball. The weight of water is heavier compared to a beach ball, and as a result, the beach ball floats.

The movement of the ball cannot be controlled. It might move according to the waves or float in the same place or ripples in the pool.  

Similarly, feather in the wind is another example. That feather fails to choose its direction to go around with the wind it just carried. Float is also used to describe any space or outer space suspension without the presence of gravity.  

Buoyancy and density are two of the common features for objects concerning water and floating. If it is used in the context related to outer space, then the more appropriate term is weightless.

In transport, it is used as machinery descriptions that make transport possible in marine vessels.  

It can be said that the float is used to achieve a height that is equal to density in another medium. For instance, depending on the temperature and thermals, and volume of the air determines the certain height of a hot air balloon to float. 

Main Differences Between Flying and Floating 

  1. The root or base word of flying came from the old English “fleogan” and middle English “flien.” In contrast, the root or base word of floating came from the old English “floatian” and the middle English “floaten.”  
  2. Both the words flying and floating denote suspension and movement in a medium body. When it comes to flying, suspension happens in the atmosphere or the air, whereas suspension in floating happens in outer space or any kind of fluid.  
  3. In terms of speed and direction, the speed can be either low or high while flying refer to a point of geographical markers such as north, west, south, and east. But floating denotes slow movement in a non-specific directing without any control or indication.  
  4. Suspension in flying is centered or placed on a part of the vehicle or a specific mechanism. On the other hand, in floating, the suspension is placed on the body or the whole of the object.  
  5. When it comes to usage in the other fields, flying is used as a term in the field of nautical which refers to not secured stays or spars. On the flip side, floating is also used in medicine, politics, electronics, government as well as diplomacy. 
Difference Between Flying and Floating


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=KG86AgWwFEUC&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=flying&ots=RwEaVhWQUG&sig=lEwEM9CCgJN5DPk86nf8yVztH9o
  2. https://academic.oup.com/qje/article-abstract/117/2/379/1883887
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