Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cast overboard or off: a ship jettisoning wastes; a pilot jettisoning aircraft fuel.
  • transitive v. Informal To discard (something) as unwanted or burdensome: jettisoned the whole marketing plan.
  • n. The act of discarding or casting overboard.
  • n. Jetsam.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Collectively, items that have been or are about to be ejected from a boat or balloon.
  • n. The action of jettisoning items.
  • v. To eject from a boat, submarine, aircraft, spaceship or hot-air balloon, so as to lighten the load.
  • v. To let go or get rid of as being useless or defective; discard.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The throwing overboard of goods from necessity, in order to lighten a vessel in danger of wreck.
  • n. See Jetsam, 1.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To throw overboard, especially for the purpose of easing and saving a ship in time of danger.
  • n. In law, the throwing overboard of goods or merchandise, especially for the purpose of easing a ship in time of danger or distress.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. throw as from an airplane
  • v. throw away, of something encumbering

Etymologies

From Middle English jetteson, a throwing overboard of goods to lighten ship, from Anglo-Norman getteson, from Vulgar Latin *iectātiō, iectātiōn-, from *iectātus, past participle of *iectāre, to throw; see jet2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman getteson, from Old French getaison (French: would be *jetaison like pendaison). Cognate to jetsam (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I've got a few clean-up issues to attend to, not least of all my need to "jettison" (to borrow Bill's oh-so-apt word choice) the frame story - which is something I've been thinking about ever since moriarty6 suggested the same.

    Bipolar Bear could take over the world, if she could only get out of bed

  • But we find that, when someone wants to make a major change in their lives, especially around breaking out of chemical abuse, if they kind of jettison that person who was part of that abuse with them, that ` s usually a very positive step.

    CNN Transcript Sep 14, 2006

  • Television, as you know, can kind of jettison you into a whole new world.

    CNN Transcript Sep 23, 2002

  • "But," I asked, "do not the men object to this kind of jettison?"

    Overland through Asia; Pictures of Siberian, Chinese, and Tartar Life

  • Obviously Spansion is bullish about their business going forward although they've shrunk it kind of jettison the mobile market.

    SeekingAlpha.com: Home Page

  • I wonder if Barack Obama has a backup plan - a "jettison" option, if you will - on any references he may make to "global warming" during his inaugural speech - just in case wind chills are hovering around zero on January 20th.

    Latest Articles

  • 2. Add up all the people who vote Republican but want to "jettison" anti-abortion or pro-gun.

    The Democratic Convention.

  • 'unseen hand' was at work to 'jettison' the truth in the sensational case.

    Latest News Online - Express Indian

  • "jettison" ( "a voluntary sacrifice of cargo to lighten a ship's load in time of distress") entered English in the 15th century; the verb has been with us since the 19th century.

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

  • The insurers, of course, have an answer: get rid of the requirement that insurers can only sell policies that meet minimum benefit requirements and jettison the prohibition against charging older Americans any more than three times as much as young people.

    Wendell Potter: The Insurers' Real Agenda for Change

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