Definition of jetsam in English:



  • Unwanted material or goods that have been thrown overboard from a ship and washed ashore, especially material that has been discarded to lighten the vessel.

    Compare with flotsam
    • ‘I love how when you look up flotsam in the dictionary it says jetsam.’
    • ‘It is uninhabited by man, but his mark is there: a convenient stake in the ground for dinghy tie up and, of course, the endless jetsam on the windward shore.’
    • ‘But like lefties everywhere, clinging to whatever jetsam keeps us afloat, I believe every revolution ere now was betrayed.’
    • ‘Preston's troupe preferred to circumvent the chaotic jetsam of the central areas by focusing their efforts on the flanks.’
    • ‘Flotsam and jetsam drifted from the yacht, some having already washed ashore.’
    • ‘Of these, the real scene-stealer is the good old-fashioned jetsam.’
    • ‘While this may require more filtering to remove jots of jetsam, it is neither too salty due to constant mixing with sea-water, nor too earthy, due to proximity to soil.’
    • ‘The women were blonde because they were hairdressers, not jet-set jetsam.’
    • ‘I think that's one of the reasons I love my matchbook collection - these ordinary bits of jetsam are exactly today what they were back then.’
    • ‘Scuba girl grabs a handful of abrasive jetsam, rubs it in the zombie's face, and makes her escape.’
    • ‘Those years and four children later, I was among the jetsam of my husband's midlife crisis.’
    • ‘Liberation simply travels, picking up junk and jetsam along the way, discarding it somewhere downstream, and rambling on.’
    • ‘I kick indifferently among the jetsam that has sedimented up against the curb somebody once painted white and then forgot about.’
    • ‘Tony Williams is a pitiful wretch, on the jetsam on the shore of the Anacostia.’
    • ‘I tell him I don't know what either flotsam or jetsam mean beyond their colloquial connotations.’
    • ‘But others have realized that something could be made of the jetsam.’


Late 16th century (as jetson): contraction of jettison.