I couldn't understand what is the meaning of floating through in this sentence. Please someone explain to me the meaning.

Before it was the self-proclaimed largest bookstore on Earth or the Web’s dominant superstore, Amazon.com was an idea floating through the New York City offices of one of the most unusual firms on Wall Street: D. E. Shaw & Co.

3 Answers 3


an idea was floating through the offices of x.

The image is one of a cloud. As in: float through the air. Air is replaced by office.

And it not "float through"; it is "float **through the offices of x"

the word float and idea are often coupled:

  • He floated the idea to this colleagues.

It means that someone had mentioned the idea at the office and several people heard it. If something floats through some place, people will see it. Here, they will hear the idea.


I think it means that idea had very little NY offices' awareness and attention before its booming development.


It means an idea that was discussed but not yet acted upon as the floating part implies something that is not concrete. In other words the sentence you quoted says the idea behind Amazon was thought of and discussed in this NY firm at a very broad/nebulous/high level/early stage.

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