or jet·som

[jet-suh m]


goods cast overboard deliberately, as to lighten a vessel or improve its stability in an emergency, which sink where jettisoned or are washed ashore.

Nearby words

  1. jetfoil,
  2. jethro,
  3. jetliner,
  4. jetpack,
  5. jetport,
  6. jettison,
  7. jetton,
  8. jetty,
  9. jetway,
  10. jeté

Compare flotsam, lagan.

Origin of jetsam

1560–70; alteration of jetson, syncopated variant of jettison

Can be confusedflotsam jetsam Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jetsam

British Dictionary definitions for jetsam




that portion of the equipment or cargo of a vessel thrown overboard to lighten her, as during a stormCompare flotsam (def. 1), lagan
another word for flotsam (def. 2)

Word Origin for jetsam

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

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

Idioms and Phrases with jetsam


see flotsam and jetsam.

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