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jet·​ti·​son ˈje-tə-sən How to pronounce jettison (audio)
jettisoned; jettisoning; jettisons

transitive verb

: to get rid of as superfluous or encumbering : omit or forgo as part of a plan or as the result of some other decision
must be prepared to jettison many romantic notionsChristopher Catling
: to drop (cargo) to lighten a ship's load in time of distress
: to drop from an aircraft or spacecraft in flight
jettisonable adjective


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: a voluntary sacrifice of cargo to lighten a ship's load in time of distress

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The Origin of Jettison

Jettison comes from Anglo-French geteson, which means literally "action of throwing" and is related to the Latin verb jactare, meaning "to throw." The noun jettison refers to a voluntary sacrifice of cargo to lighten a ship's load in time of distress, and it is the source of the word jetsam (the name for goods "jettisoned"); the word is often paired with flotsam ("floating wreckage"). These days you don't have to be on a sinking ship to "jettison" something: the verb also means simply "to get rid of."

Examples of jettison in a Sentence

Verb 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. Noun with his ship rapidly sinking, the captain ordered a last-ditch jettison of much of its cargo
Recent Examples on the Web
To win, Gingrich argued, bipartisanship had to be jettisoned and politics had to be made bitterly personal. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, 26 May 2024 Denver, which has missed the playoffs each of the past eight seasons and last finished above .500 in 2016, is in rebuild mode after jettisoning veteran quarterback Russell Wilson and his $85 million dead cap hit. Brian Wacker, Baltimore Sun, 16 May 2024
This variation jettisons meat and replaces it with a soy- and Sriracha-slicked salmon fillet. Lynda Balslev, The Mercury News, 21 May 2024 In the lunar junkyard, Manure Mountain is actually just the beginning: The jettison list also includes two hammocks, five American flags, and an array of equipment that had fulfilled its duty. Cody Cottier, Discover Magazine, 6 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for jettison 

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

Word History


Noun and Verb

Middle English jetteson, from Anglo-French geteson, literally, action of throwing, from Latin jactation-, jactatio, from jactare — more at jet

First Known Use


1848, in the meaning defined at sense 2


15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of jettison was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near jettison

Cite this Entry

“Jettison.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to throw goods overboard from a ship or aircraft especially to lighten it in distress
jettison noun

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