"organism that lives in a large body of water and is unable to swim against the current," 1891, from German Plankton (1887), coined by German physiologist Viktor Hensen (1835-1924) from Greek plankton, neuter of planktos "wandering, drifting," verbal adjective from plazesthai "to wander, drift," from plazein "to drive astray," from PIE root *plak- (2) "to strike." Related: Planktonic.
Meaning "to glide away like a stream, vanish imperceptibly" is from c. 1200; hence "to fade, to vanish" (1570s). Related: Fleeted; fleeting.
by 1921 in sexual sense, from fore- + play (n.); Freud's Vorlust was translated earlier as fore-pleasure (Brill, 1910). A more direct translation from the German would be thwarted by the sense drift in English lust (n.). Earlier as a theatrical term:
In fact the poem which Mr. Brooks has translated is but the "prologue to the swelling theme," the fore-play to the actual drama of Faust. [The Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany, Jan.-May 1857]
Earlier Lemuria was the name of the Roman feast of the Lemures, evil spirits of the dead in Roman mythology. The head of each household ritually exorcised them every 9th, 11th, and 13th of May. Related: Lemurian
1570s, the vogue, "height of popularity or accepted fashion," from French vogue "fashion, success;" also "drift, swaying motion (of a boat)" literally "a rowing," from Old French voguer "to row, sway, set sail" (15c.), probably from a Germanic source. Compare Old High German wagon "to float, fluctuate," literally "to balance oneself;" German Woge "wave, billow," wogen "fluctuate, float" (from PIE root *wegh- "to go, move").
Perhaps the notion is of being "borne along on the waves of fashion." Italian voga "a rowing," Spanish boga "rowing," but colloquially "fashion, reputation" also probably are from the same Germanic source. Phrase in vogue "having a prominent place in popular fashion" first recorded 1643. The fashion magazine began publication in 1892.
late Old English flotian "to rest on the surface of water" (intransitive; class II strong verb; past tense fleat, past participle floten), from Proto-Germanic *flotan "to float" (source also of Old Norse flota, Middle Dutch vloten, Old High German flozzan, German flössen), from PIE *plud-, extended form of root *pleu- "to flow."
Meaning "drift about, hover passively" is from c. 1300. Transitive sense of "to lift up, cause to float" (of water, etc.) is from c. 1600; that of "set (something) afloat" is from 1778 (originally of financial operations). Of motion through air, from 1630s. Meaning "hover dimly before the eyes" is from 1775. Related: Floated; floating. A floating rib (by 1802) is so called because the anterior ends are not connected to the rest.
Related Middle English swive was the principal slang verb for "to have sexual intercourse with," a sense that developed c. 1300. This probably explains why, though the root is verbal, the verb swivel is not attested in Modern English until 1794. Compare Middle English phrase smal-swivinge men "men who copulate infrequently."