1. goods cast overboard deliberately, as to lighten a vessel or improve its stability in an emergency, which sink where jettisoned or are washed ashore.


  1. that portion of the equipment or cargo of a vessel thrown overboard to lighten her, as during a stormCompare flotsam (def. 1), lagan
  2. another word for flotsam (def. 2)

1560s, jottsome “act of throwing goods overboard to lighten a ship,” alteration and contraction of Middle English jetteson, from Anglo-French getteson, Old French getaison “a throwing” (see jettison). Intermediate forms were jetson, jetsome; the form perhaps was deformed by influence of flotsam. From 1590s as “goods thrown overboard;” figurative use by 1861. For distinction of meaning, see flotsam.

see flotsam and jetsam.

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