Dictionary.com

flotsam

[ flot-suhm ]
/ ˈflɒt səm /
Save This Word!

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.
QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.
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. 2022

How to use flotsam in a sentence

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
FEEDBACK