Flying vs Floating: Difference and Comparison

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

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 denotes that it is in movement. It is 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. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Flying is the ability to move through the air using wings or other forms of propulsion while floating is the ability to remain on the surface of a liquid without sinking.
  2. Flying requires the ability to generate lift and control movement in three dimensions while floating requires the ability to displace enough liquid to counteract gravity.
  3. Flying is mainly used by birds and insects, while floating is mainly used by low-density objects such as boats and balloons.

Flying vs Floating 

Flying is the movement of an object through the air with the assistance of wings or other aerodynamic surfaces, such as airplanes, birds, and insects. Floating is the act of resting or moving on the surface of a liquid or gas, with the fluid’s buoyancy force supporting the object’s weight.

Flying vs Floating

Flying is 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 takes 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 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 (balls). 

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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 planes, supermen, or birds do. Just think how in the air these things move. They have direction, purpose and, over their movements, they have complete control.

For instance, they can go where they are supposed or want to go 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 see the eagle flying?  

Scientifically, it can be said that flying is to move in a direction which is forward and supports the 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, and there is a beach ball. The water’s weight is heavier than a beach ball, so the beach ball floats.

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

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It can be said that the float is used to achieve a height that is equal to the density in another medium. For instance, depending on the temperature and thermals, and volume of the air determine 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. Regarding speed and direction, the speed can be either low or high while flying refers to the point of geographical markers such as north, west, south, and east. But floating denotes slow movement in a non-specific direction without any control or indication.  
  4. Suspension in flying is centred or placed on the 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 a term in the nautical field, which refers to not secured stays or spars. On the flip side, floating is also used in medicine, politics, electronics, government, and diplomacy. 
Difference Between Flying and Floating

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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8 thoughts on “Flying vs Floating: Difference and Comparison”

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