c. 1200, so called for its ice-choked fjords. Related: Icelander; Icelandic.
apparently an early Middle English merger of three related Old English nouns, flota "boat, fleet," flote "troop, flock," flot "body of water, sea;" all from the source of float (v.). The early senses were the now-mostly-obsolete ones of the Old English words: "state of floating" (early 12c.), "swimming" (mid-13c.); "a fleet of ships; a company or troop" (c. 1300); "a stream, river" (early 14c.). From c. 1300 as an attachment for buoyancy on a fishing line or net; early 14c. as "raft." Meaning "platform on wheels used for displays in parades, etc." is from 1888, probably from earlier sense of "flat-bottomed boat" (1550s). As a type of fountain drink, by 1915.
Float.—An ade upon the top of which is floated a layer of grape juice, ginger ale, or in some cases a disher of fruit sherbet or ice cream. In the latter case it would be known as a "sherbet float" or an "ice-cream float." ["The Dispenser's Formulary: Or, Soda Water Guide," New York, 1915]
Few soda water dispensers know what is meant by a "Float Ice Cream Soda." This is not strange since the term is a coined one. By a "float ice cream soda" is meant a soda with the ice cream floating on top, thus making a most inviting appearance and impressing the customer that you are liberal with your ice cream, when you are not really giving any more than the fellow that mixes his ice cream "out of sight." [The Spatula, Boston, July, 1908]
1700, "one who ice-skates," agent noun from skate (v.). Extended to skateboarders by 1977.
kind of ice cream dessert, 1929, from Italian spumone (singular), spumoni (plural), from spuma "foam" (see spume).
1570s, "an act of assistance," from assist (v.). In the sporting sense attested 1877 in baseball, 1925 in ice hockey.
"white line of ice crystals behind an airplane in motion," 1945, from condensation trail (1942); see condensation.
"substance used to make a glossy coating," 1784, from glaze (v.). In reference to a thin coating of ice from 1752.