jet·ti·son | \ˈje-tə-sən, -zən\
jettisoned; jettisoning; jettisons

Definition of jettison 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : 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 notions— Christopher Catling

2 : to drop (cargo) to lighten a ship's load in time of distress

3 : to drop from an aircraft or spacecraft in flight



Definition of jettison (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from jettison


jettisonable \ˈje-tə-sə-nə-bəl, -zə- \ adjective

The Origin of Jettison


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.

Examples of jettison in a Sentence


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.


with his ship rapidly sinking, the captain ordered a last-ditch jettison of much of its cargo
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

ORL The Lions jettisoned beloved former coach Adrian Heath midway through his second MLS season two years ago with Orlando City still in the thick of the playoff race. Mike Bianchi, Pro Soccer USA, "Here’s hoping Orlando City actually has some patience with new coach James O’Connor," 3 July 2018 Critics and friends alike read the latest Trump move to snub yet another international institution as a sign that U.S. was jettisoning its reputation as a key defender of human rights and self-inflicting a blow to its international image. Jamey Keaten,, "Allies disappointed by 'big bang' of U.S. walkout from U.N. Human Rights Council," 20 June 2018 The push to hold a referendum faces a legal challenge from activists and some opposition leaders who say parts of the law jettisoning the presidential age limit are unconstitutional. Washington Post, "Uganda ruling party wants to extend president’s rule to 2035," 27 Feb. 2018 Their agreement included a phase-in to jettison unregistered hosts over the months from September until Jan. 16. Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, "Long, winding road to SF’s get-tough registration on home rentals," 15 Feb. 2018 Other Democrats joining the call to jettison the meeting included Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Representative Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. John Wagner,, "Lawmakers call on Trump to cancel summit with Putin," 13 July 2018 Becca eventually made the very wise decision to jettison the drama entirely and cut Lincoln at the Rose Ceremony. Nick Schwartz, For The Win, "Bachelorette Power Rankings: Becca finally realizes that Chris is the worst," 3 July 2018 Government officials are also leaning toward giving voters a chance to jettison another artifact of old Ireland: a provision of the 1937 Constitution suggesting that a woman’s place is in the home. New York Times, "Next in Irish Voters’ Cross Hairs? A Law Banning Blasphemy," 13 June 2018 The filing to jettison the Teamsters lists as representatives Russ Brown and James F. Edwards, the president and the chief executive officer of the Center for Independent Employees, an anti-union legal advocacy group. Josh Eidelson,, "Airline pilots may be next in the U.S. corporate war on unions," 1 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The best thing the Lakers could do for themselves, and LeBron James, is jettison Lonzo Ball and his deadweight daddy, and go looking for a healthy, mature partner for James. Sally Jenkins,, "Welcome to L.A., LeBron James. See yourself out, LaVar Ball.," 2 July 2018 Bryant gets a fresh start with a brand new locker room, while the Steelers jettison a player who trashed a fellow wide receiver on Twitter in October and was reportedly seeking a trade in midseason. Robert Klemko,, "Draft Notes: For Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, the Wait Was Worth It," 27 Apr. 2018 During this process, sea lampreys jettison about 20 percent of their genome during embryonic development. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Odd vertebrate gets rid of hundreds of genes early in development," 28 Jan. 2018 Suddenly, from the far reaches of my mind, the legal jargon jettisons to the surface. Whitney Ellenby, Washington Post, "Bystanders were horrified. But my son has autism, and I was desperate.," 27 Feb. 2018 The measure slashes corporate and individual income tax rates and jettisons numerous tax breaks Americans and businesses have used for years to limit their costs, my colleagues Damian Paletta and Mike DeBonis report. Paige Winfield Cunningham, Washington Post, "The Health 202: If the GOP really wanted to repeal key parts of Obamacare, they could use their tax plan to do it," 3 Nov. 2017 The Parallax View incorporates this tendency but jettisons whatever was specifically political about it. Art Simon, Slate Magazine, "In The Parallax View, Conspiracy Goes All the Way to the Top—and Beyond," 21 July 2017

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.

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First Known Use of jettison


1848, in the meaning defined at sense 2


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jettison


see jettison entry 2


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

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jet thrust





Statistics for jettison

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for jettison

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

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More Definitions for jettison



English Language Learners Definition of jettison

: to drop (something) from a moving ship, airplane, etc.

: to get rid of (something) : to reject (something, such as a plan or idea)


jet·ti·son | \ˈje-tə-sən \
jettisoned; jettisoning

Kids Definition of jettison

: to throw out especially from a ship or an airplane Cargo was jettisoned.

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jettison

Spanish Central: Translation of jettison

Nglish: Translation of jettison for Spanish Speakers

Comments on jettison

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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