Definition of jettison
- must be prepared to jettison many romantic notions
- —Christopher Catling
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
with his ship rapidly sinking, the captain ordered a last-ditch jettison of much of its cargo
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jettison.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
The captain gave orders to jettison the cargo.
They jettisoned the fuel and made an emergency landing.
We should jettison these old computers and get new ones.
They jettisoned plans for a vacation.
Jettison comes from the Anglo-French noun geteson, meaning "action of throwing," and is ultimately from the Latin verb jactare, meaning "to throw." The noun 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. The noun is also the source of the word jetsam ("jettisoned goods"), which is often paired with flotsam ("floating wreckage"). These days you don't have to be on a sinking ship to jettison something. In addition to literally "throwing overboard," jettison means simply "to get rid of." You might jettison some old magazines that are cluttering your house, or you might make a plan but jettison it at the last minute.
: to drop (something) from a moving ship, airplane, etc.
: to get rid of (something) : to reject (something, such as a plan or idea)
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