jet·​ti·​son | \ ˈje-tə-sən How to pronounce jettison (audio) , -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

Other Words from jettison


jettisonable \ ˈje-​tə-​sə-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce jettison (audio) , -​zə-​ \ adjective

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: Verb But overcommitting yourself can backfire rapidly and ultimately jettison your hopes of being seen as valuable by your peers and managers. William Arruda, Forbes, 26 May 2022 When, after the Georgia conflict in 2008, Russia tried to revamp its military, the idea was to jettison the rigidly centralized, Soviet-era army that could supposedly muster four million troops in no time. New York Times, 16 May 2022 You jettison those that fail and start building a portfolio of success and fail stories. John Sabo, Forbes, 2 May 2022 The decision has prompted some prominent officials to completely jettison the public health excuse and accuse Biden of pulling the plug on what has been a potent border control tool. Felipe De La Hoz, The New Republic, 21 Apr. 2022 The court appeared to jettison the Free Exercise Clause part to avoid resolving the second part of Smith’s request, which had asked them to revisit Employment Division v. Smith. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 23 Feb. 2022 This is the second year that Sundance has been forced to jettison its in-person plans because of the pandemic. New York Times, 28 Jan. 2022 That doesn’t mean Democratic leaders are not willing to try to jettison a rule that has existed in its modern form since 1917. Arit John, Los Angeles Times, 29 Dec. 2021 This is no small matter — the only way Democrats can enact such laws would be to at least partially jettison the Senate’s filibuster rule, a move that would inflame political tensions and alter the chamber’s dynamics for years to come. Arit John, Los Angeles Times, 9 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After the early jettison of the Electron booster, Rocket Lab’s recovery ship retrieved the stage for analysis on shore. Rob Pegoraro, PCMAG, 3 May 2022 Will the new Vikings general manager kickstart a rebuild and jettison quarterback Kirk Cousins, who carries a $45 million cap hit next season? C.j. Doon,, 11 Jan. 2022 Such anemic demand means that anything less than a robust rebound over the coming months will prompt airlines to cut more employees, jettison older aircraft, and cut more salaries, which in turn could persuade more workers to depart. Justin Bachman,, 20 Apr. 2020 In Barrie’s version, Wendy is soon cooking and caring for the boys, sidelined by the period conventions that Zeitlin thoroughly jettisons. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 27 Feb. 2020 In her loose adaptation of The Witch of Edmonton, written by William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford, Silverman reworks subplots and jettisons period dialogue for contemporary vernacular. Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, 30 Aug. 2019 In Rocket Lab’s design, its Electron rocket jettisons its payload and then begins to fall back toward Earth. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, 15 Aug. 2019 When the jettison button is pushed, a Cartridge Activated Device drops the tank. San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Aug. 2019 Powered by a single AAA battery, Quip jettisons much of the baggage of more complicated brushes, including the charging system, providing instead a streamlined (and quite attractive) wand with a vibrating, replaceable head. Christopher Null, WIRED, 6 June 2019 See More

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.

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

Noun and Verb

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

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Dictionary Entries Near jettison

jet thrust



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Last Updated

19 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Jettison.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for jettison


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

Kids Definition of jettison

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

More from Merriam-Webster on jettison

Nglish: Translation of jettison for Spanish Speakers


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