jet·​sam | \ ˈjet-səm How to pronounce jetsam (audio) \

Definition of jetsam

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

Examples of jetsam in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Alexander Dodge’s set, a jaunty playground of flotsam and jetsam, is strewn with cinema seats in a production that revels in the open theatricality of the play. Charles Mcnulty,, "'The Tempest' at the Old Globe: Kate Burton casts a benevolent spell as Prospera," 26 June 2018 But even the films that, at the time, were written off as flotsam and jetsam . . Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Film / History The Music Box kicks off a season of Michael Curtiz revivals with the silent melodrama A Million Bid," 20 Apr. 2018 After sifting through mountains of Xbox flotsam and jetsam, Van Cleave talked the recyclers into letting him take home five motherboards. Brendan I. Koerner, WIRED, "The Young and the Reckless," 17 Apr. 2018 Smallest flotsam and jetsam can be used as the base for your newest compost pile. Sally Mccabe,, "April 6-12: In the garden, it's time to… | Sally McCabe," 5 Apr. 2018 Waves and wind send flotsam and jetsam across vast stretches of ocean. Carl Hoffman, Outside Online, "Has Amelia Earhart Really Been Found?," 3 Apr. 2018 As the snow melts into muck, little clusters of flotsam and jetsam emerge in the far corners of everyone’s yards. Sally Higginson,, "Column: With the arrival of spring, it's time to give the plumber a ring," 7 Mar. 2018 Flood waters also contain chemicals and will leave behind bathtub-like rings of mud in homes and all manner of flotsam and jetsam on streets and lawns as the Ohio River withdraws back into its banks. James Bruggers, The Courier-Journal, "You might not want to know how much sewage wastewater is mixed in floodwaters," 27 Feb. 2018 The tire reef is different from the usual flotsam, jetsam, lagan and derelict. Hillary Davis, Daily Pilot, "‘It just looks like a pile of trash’: Boat crew hauls tire reef out of the sea off Newport," 19 Oct. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of jetsam

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for jetsam

alteration of jettison

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Statistics for jetsam

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Time Traveler for jetsam

The first known use of jetsam was in 1591

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More Definitions for jetsam



English Language Learners Definition of jetsam

: floating objects that are thrown into the water from a ship


jet·​sam | \ ˈjet-səm How to pronounce jetsam (audio) \

Kids Definition of jetsam

: goods thrown overboard to lighten a ship in danger of sinking


jet·​sam | \ ˈjet-səm How to pronounce jetsam (audio) \

Legal Definition of jetsam

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on jetsam

Spanish Central: Translation of jetsam

Comments on jetsam

What made you want to look up jetsam? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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