Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Goods that are cast overboard from a ship, especially in an attempt to lighten the ship, and that sink to the bottom of a body of water.
  • noun Discarded odds and ends.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In law and com.: Same as jettison.
  • noun The goods thrown out by jettison.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Mar. Law) Goods which sink when cast into the sea, and remain under water; -- distinguished from flotsam, goods which float, and ligan (or lagan), goods which are sunk attached to a buoy.
  • noun The act of throwing objects from a ship to lighten the load; jettison{1}. See Jettison, 1.
  • noun Anything thrown overboard from a ship, whether floating or not.
  • noun colloq. Objects scattered about in a disorderly manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun articles thrown overboard from a ship or boat in order to lighten the load of a ship in distress
  • noun by extension discarded odds and ends

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

  • noun the floating wreckage of a ship
  • noun the part of a ship's equipment or cargo that is thrown overboard to lighten the load in a storm

Etymologies

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

[From earlier jetson, alteration of Middle English jetteson, a throwing overboard; see jettison.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English jetteson, from Anglo-Norman getteson (See jettison.)

Examples

  • And I’d argue that his ability to nose out a story and piece it together from all the flotsam and jetsam is just what we’ve been missing in national journalism.

    Matthew Yglesias » Who Is Murray Waas?

  • The noun is also the source of the word "jetsam" ( "jettisoned goods"), which is often paired with

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

  • My nationwide cohort of subs included the flotsam and jetsam of the economic downturn -- unemployed realtors, bankers, nurses.

    Carolyn Bucior: Lesson: Substitute Teaching's 'F' -- What Gwyneth and Cameron Can Teach Education Experts

  • While there are trained artists--perhaps inspired by Gaudí's early 20th-century mosaics or Marcel Duchamp's readymades--who sculpt and construct large-scale artworks made from repurposed cast offs, many more are dreamers with ordinary day jobs who abhor waste, have a penchant for collecting, and seize upon an unstoppable urge to create something beautiful from the flotsam and jetsam modern life.

    Trash Art: California's Artistic Recycling Revolution

  • My nationwide cohort of subs included the flotsam and jetsam of the economic downturn -- unemployed realtors, bankers, nurses.

    Carolyn Bucior: Lesson: Substitute Teaching's 'F' -- What Gwyneth and Cameron Can Teach Education Experts

  • While there are trained artists--perhaps inspired by Gaudí's early 20th-century mosaics or Marcel Duchamp's readymades--who sculpt and construct large-scale artworks made from repurposed cast offs, many more are dreamers with ordinary day jobs who abhor waste, have a penchant for collecting, and seize upon an unstoppable urge to create something beautiful from the flotsam and jetsam modern life.

    Trash Art: California's Artistic Recycling Revolution

  • While there are trained artists--perhaps inspired by Gaudí's early 20th-century mosaics or Marcel Duchamp's readymades--who sculpt and construct large-scale artworks made from repurposed cast offs, many more are dreamers with ordinary day jobs who abhor waste, have a penchant for collecting, and seize upon an unstoppable urge to create something beautiful from the flotsam and jetsam modern life.

    Trash Art: California's Artistic Recycling Revolution

  • While there are trained artists--perhaps inspired by Gaudí's early 20th-century mosaics or Marcel Duchamp's readymades--who sculpt and construct large-scale artworks made from repurposed cast offs, many more are dreamers with ordinary day jobs who abhor waste, have a penchant for collecting, and seize upon an unstoppable urge to create something beautiful from the flotsam and jetsam modern life.

    Trash Art: California's Artistic Recycling Revolution

  • While there are trained artists--perhaps inspired by Gaudí's early 20th-century mosaics or Marcel Duchamp's readymades--who sculpt and construct large-scale artworks made from repurposed cast offs, many more are dreamers with ordinary day jobs who abhor waste, have a penchant for collecting, and seize upon an unstoppable urge to create something beautiful from the flotsam and jetsam modern life.

    Trash Art: California's Artistic Recycling Revolution

  • While there are trained artists--perhaps inspired by Gaudí's early 20th-century mosaics or Marcel Duchamp's readymades--who sculpt and construct large-scale artworks made from repurposed cast offs, many more are dreamers with ordinary day jobs who abhor waste, have a penchant for collecting, and seize upon an unstoppable urge to create something beautiful from the flotsam and jetsam modern life.

    Trash Art: California's Artistic Recycling Revolution

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