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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
So far, the bet seems to have paid off: Copenhagen, Melbourne, and Crete openings are underway, and the 1 Hotel South Beach surely helped jettison the group’s rapid global expansion. Beck Bamberger, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2024 It was based on the C5 Corvette but the entire exterior, aside from the glass and doors, was jettisoned in favor of a longer and sleeker fiber and Kevlar body designed by Paul Deutschman. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 7 Feb. 2024 That’s the worst month for tech job cuts in the Bay Area since January 2023, when the industry jettisoned 5,586 jobs in the nine-county region, the EDD WARN notices show. George Avalos, The Mercury News, 31 Jan. 2024 None of them, however, have jettisoned Nielsen to the extent Allen Media Group has. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 29 Jan. 2024 But in January 2021, shortly after a divisional-round defeat by the Green Bay Packers, the Rams jettisoned Goff to Detroit, sending the quarterback, two first-round draft picks and a third-rounder for Matthew Stafford. Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times, 26 Jan. 2024 Mail voting has exploded in popularity in the two decades since Florida jettisoned the old absentee ballot system and implemented no-excuses mail voting in the aftermath of the contentious 2000 presidential election. Anthony Man, Sun Sentinel, 8 Jan. 2024 In Chad in 2021, military leaders used the opportunity opened by the long-ruling president’s sudden death to appoint his son the head of a military council—and then jettisoned their promise to limit the council’s time in power. Comfort Ero, Foreign Affairs, 12 Dec. 2023 Goldman Sachs Group, which has been trying to jettison its struggling credit card business, now has a potential way out of its partnership with Apple. Mark Gurman, Fortune, 29 Nov. 2023
But the fact is that Silicon Valley investors are often prepared to jettison founders if they are felt not to have the skills to move beyond running a start-up to heading a much larger and more complicated entity. Roger Trapp, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Hot staging comes two seconds later with the simultaneous ignition of the Starship upper stage and jettison of the Super Heavy booster. Stephen Clark, Ars Technica, 8 Nov. 2023 Sarafin ticked off all of the launch accomplishments including all of the separation events for the rocket including the boosters, fairings, jettison of the launch abort system, shutdown the four RS-25 engines and jettison of the core stage. Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel, 17 Nov. 2022 There’s physical freedom and authenticity: Charlotte jettisons shapewear and lets her belly hang out in an adorable new dress. Vicki Shabo, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Aug. 2023 And there are the older restaurant’s original chairs, which designer Becky Carter decided to restore rather than jettison for newer pieces. Bebe Howorth, ELLE Decor, 31 July 2023 Hire back your engineers, focus on what works and jettison what doesn’t. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2023 But the deal jettisons many top conservative priorities contained in a bill passed by the House last month: deeper spending cuts, elimination of billions in funding for new IRS agents and a rollback of green energy incentives intended to tackle climate change. Joseph Morton, Dallas News, 30 May 2023 The book written by David Thompson with Sharon Washington maintains the film’s immediate post-World War II jubilance but jettisons much of the plot that was specific to De Niro and Minnelli. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 26 Apr. 2023 See More

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 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on jettison

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