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

Examples of jetsam in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Luke called the vultures back and reshot the scene with the jetsam of pestilence. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2023 The barge carried acoustic equipment and was festooned with fluorescent light sticks and suspended jetsam that clinked and chimed. Ben McGrath, The New Yorker, 2 Oct. 2023 For Kevin Nunez and his son Nathan, Native Americans who have long family history locked within the rugged and geologically active mountains, volunteering to help remove the flotsam and jetsam of tourists is a solemn duty. Louis Sahagún, Los Angeles Times, 1 Aug. 2023 So flotsam or jetsam? Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 14 Feb. 2023 Or is that jetsam? Christopher Reynoldsstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 23 Nov. 2022 Occasionally, some trivial jetsam floats to shore. New York Times, 11 June 2021 Various species of reptiles are thought to have spread to islands and continents via flotsam and jetsam, and more modern-day travelers have been sneaking aboard floating pieces of plastic debris covered in barnacles on the ocean and traveling across continents. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 9 Nov. 2016 But just think of this as your average mash-up of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, some MCU flotsam and jetsam, and all those ’80s action-comedies all of us used to watch over and over again on DVD. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 11 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'jetsam.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 19 Jun. 2024.

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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