jetsam

noun

jet·​sam ˈjet-səm How to pronounce jetsam (audio)
1
: the part of a ship, its equipment, or its cargo that is cast overboard to lighten the load in time of distress and that sinks or is washed ashore
2

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Their materials: The tiniest flotsam and jetsam of nature, and glue. Carl Engelking, Discover Magazine, 19 Sep. 2014 Its receding waters are leaving behind the usual flotsam and jetsam of a lake heavily trafficked by weekend boaters — and even exposing a ship dating back to World War II. CBS News, 5 July 2022 From those pensive jigsaw puzzles, Scarbath shapes works of different textures from the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life: a shard of colored glass or a pebble that just caught her eye. Mike Klingaman, Baltimore Sun, 29 June 2022 The architectural jetsam of millennia mixes here; ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque share space along narrow, curving lanes. Maria Shollenbarger, Travel + Leisure, 20 June 2022 What makes her achievements even more remarkable is that Ms. Byrd could all too easily have ended up as a piece of inner-city jetsam. WSJ, 15 Jan. 2022 What makes her achievements even more remarkable is that Ms. Byrd could all too easily have ended up as a piece of inner-city jetsam. WSJ, 15 Jan. 2022 What makes her achievements even more remarkable is that Ms. Byrd could all too easily have ended up as a piece of inner-city jetsam. WSJ, 15 Jan. 2022 What makes her achievements even more remarkable is that Ms. Byrd could all too easily have ended up as a piece of inner-city jetsam. WSJ, 15 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jetsam.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

alteration of jettison

First Known Use

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of jetsam was in 1591

Dictionary Entries Near jetsam

Cite this Entry

“Jetsam.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jetsam. Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

jetsam

noun
jet·​sam ˈjet-səm How to pronounce jetsam (audio)
: goods thrown overboard to lighten a ship in distress
especially : such goods when washed ashore

Legal Definition

jetsam

noun
jet·​sam ˈjet-səm How to pronounce jetsam (audio)
: the part of a ship, its equipment, or its cargo that is cast overboard to lighten the load in time of distress and that sinks or is washed ashore compare flotsam

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