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or jetsom

[jet-suh m] /ˈdʒɛt səm/
goods cast overboard deliberately, as to lighten a vessel or improve its stability in an emergency, which sink where jettisoned or are washed ashore.
Compare flotsam, lagan.
Origin of jetsam
1560-70; alteration of jetson, syncopated variant of jettison
Can be confused
flotsam, jetsam. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for jetsam
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • How many performances of Tristan does this make, Mr. jetsam?

    Melomaniacs James Huneker
  • This is my estate, and all flotsam and jetsam as is washed ashore is mine.

    King o' the Beach George Manville Fenn
  • The flotsam and jetsam are mere shreds and fragments of wasted lives.

    How the Other Half Lives Jacob A. Riis
  • The crowd passes over him in a flood, leaving him like jetsam among the stones.

    Jeremiah Stefan Zweig
  • I copped it on the high seas—flotsam and jetsam,' says the 'roughneck.'

  • The shelving sandy beach is strewed with the jetsam of the storm.

  • But the jetsam is in the position of a passenger who has been carried off by the wrong train.

    Darwin and Modern Science A.C. Seward and Others
  • The two Kabyles are Mohammed's, and the flotsam and jetsam is mine.

    The Golden Silence C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson
  • I am not a purposeless bit of jetsam flung out on the ocean of time to be tossed about helplessly.

British Dictionary definitions for jetsam


that portion of the equipment or cargo of a vessel thrown overboard to lighten her, as during a storm Compare flotsam (sense 1), lagan
another word for flotsam (sense 2)
Word Origin
C16: shortened from jettison
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for jetsam

1560s, jottsome "act of throwing goods overboard to lighten a ship," alteration and contraction of Middle English jetteson, from Anglo-French getteson, Old French getaison "a throwing" (see jettison). Intermediate forms were jetson, jetsome; the form perhaps was deformed by influence of flotsam. From 1590s as "goods thrown overboard;" figurative use by 1861. For distinction of meaning, see flotsam.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with jetsam


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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