Once the sand was plowed back onto the beaches, volunteers scoured it for any flotsam that got through the sifting machines.
If they continue at sea, the law distinguishes them by the barbarous and uncouth appellations of jetsam, flotsam, and ligan.
A scuttle-butt was torn from its lashings and went by the board, and other flotsam followed it.
When the weather cleared again, I don't know how long it was, I crawled down and overhauled the flotsam.
The rest were in character with Grants nearer companions—just flotsam.
The old man plodded ahead, muttering and frowning as he peered down at the flotsam in the motionless waters.
Among the torn bodies the flotsam of war lay unheeded in the mud.
In fact, it would not do to forget that the six men whose boat had gone to pieces on the rocks had landed at flotsam Point.
Am I to drift always about the world, a mere piece of flotsam on Swansea tide?
Don't you believe that flotsam can sometimes be washed ashore?
c.1600, from Anglo-French floteson, from Old French flotaison "a floating," from floter "to float" (of Germanic origin; see float) + -aison, from Latin -ation(em). Spelled flotsen till mid-19c. when it altered, perhaps under influence of many English words in -some.
In British law, flotsam are goods found floating on the sea as a consequence of a shipwreck or action of wind or waves; jetsam are things cast out of a ship in danger of being wrecked, and afterward washed ashore, or things cast ashore by the sailors. Whatever sinks is lagan. Figurative use for "odds and ends" attested by 1861.