“Even when the seas of life were at their choppiest and many around her fell into despair, she was able to remain buoyant.”

Based on the above sentence and illustration, which are the best definitions of buoyant?

I. Light in spirit
II. Able to stay afloat
III. Bogged down by life’s worries
IV. Contagiously happy

Check your answer!

Choice A - I only
Choice B - I and II
Choice C - II and III
Choice D - III and IV


Buoyant (adjective) – remaining cheerful or optimistic; or, tending to float in a fluid

Buoyancy (noun) – the tendency to remain cheerful or optimistic; resiliency; or, the tendency of something to float in a fluid

GRE pro tips:

You’ve probably seen a buoy floating in the ocean before; a buoy is a marker that stays afloat and maintains its position. The terms “buoyant” and “buoyancy” can be used to describe such physical objects but also to describe people or abstractions. Physically buoyant objects—including buoys and balloons—are light in weight, so they float in fluids (liquids or gas). In addition, emotionally buoyant people are able to remain light in spirit – cheerful and carefree – even during challenging circumstances. Likewise, some abstractions are characterized by buoyancy, or the ability to stay afloat and even succeed even in adverse circumstances; for instance, when the economy remains buoyant despite trade restrictions.

Example sentences:

“My doctor was steadfastly buoyant as we discussed ways I could improve my declining health.”

“The economy remained buoyant despite increased trade restrictions.”