AdriftIn this football language post we explain the word ‘adrift‘ which is often used when talking about a team’s position in the league table. Don’t forget we have hundreds more explanations of football language in our football glossary. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at:


The adjective ‘adrift‘ has a meaning of floating aimlessly – not having any real direction – but in football it is also used to describe a team that is quite a distance from its target. So, if a team finds itself in the relegation zone – down near the bottom of the table – we can say that it is a certain number of points from safety, e.g. five points from safety and another way of saying this is the team is five points adrift of safety. Maybe this phrase suggests that the team is both floating aimlessly and also short of its target! Currently in the English Premier League, bottom-club Norwich City have 14 points from 22 games and are 8 points behind the team in 17th place (Watford) which means they are 8 points from safety or 8 points adrift.

Example: Norwich City find themselves 7 points adrift from safety after their first 20 games in the 2019-20 Premier League season.

Example: Manchester City are 14 points adrift of league leaders Liverpool.

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here. If you have any suggestions or questions, contact us at

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

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AEpisode 892