flotsam

[ flot-suh m ]
/ ˈflɒt səm /

noun

the part of the wreckage of a ship and its cargo found floating on the water.Compare jetsam, lagan.
material or refuse floating on water.
useless or unimportant items; odds and ends.
a vagrant, penniless population: the flotsam of the city slums in medieval Europe.

QUIZZES

HEED THE VOX POPULI, AND TAKE THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ!

Test your memory on these verbal firecrackers from the week of June 29 to July 5!
Question 1 of 7
anchorite
Also called flotsam and jetsam (for defs 3, 4).

Origin of flotsam

1600–10; < Anglo-French floteson, derivative of floter to float < Old English flotian

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH flotsam

flotsam jetsam
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for flotsam

British Dictionary definitions for flotsam

flotsam
/ (ˈflɒtsəm) /

noun

wreckage from a ship found floatingCompare jetsam (def. 1), lagan
useless or discarded objects; odds and ends (esp in the phrase flotsam and jetsam)
vagrants

Word Origin for flotsam

C16: from Anglo-French floteson, from floter to float
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