In electronics floating refers to a circuit configuration in which neither wire carrying the signal is connected to the system ground. This also basically describes a balanced configuration. In everyday use, however, the term is used much more loosely and has come to mean any wire or signal path that is not connected. In other words, if you were to float the shield at one end of a cable (a telescoping shield) it simply means not to connect it to anything. The shield is still at “ground potential” by virtue of being grounded at the other end of the cable, but the open end is known as floating.