Definition of flotsam in English:

flotsam

Line breaks: flot|sam
Pronunciation: /ˈflɒts(ə)m
 
/

noun

[mass noun]
1The wreckage of a ship or its cargo found floating on or washed up by the sea. Compare with jetsam.
More example sentences
  • It has the habit of swimming in small shoals around patches of flotsam, or floating logs, and is attracted by rafts or drifting boats.
  • But being seen in the shimmering waters, when you're but a speck of flotsam to a passing ship, was never a sure bet.
  • It's finding a shell or bit of interesting flotsam washed up during the last high tide or a few oysters that can be opened and washed down with a glass of wine back home.
Synonyms
wreckage, lost cargo, floating remains
1.1People or things that have been rejected or discarded as worthless: the room was cleared of boxes and other flotsam
More example sentences
  • The federation is a worthless body of flotsam - we should invite the university to take over: it can't possibly do any worse.
  • Obviously, with every man and his dog being able to update the pages of such a site, there was always a very real risk that idiots would try to fill it with disinformation, advertising and other worthless flotsam.
  • Outside, a man is pushing a battered shopping cart filled with flotsam from the road: crumpled cans, a discarded flask, a pillow.
Synonyms
rubbish, debris, detritus, waste, waste matter, discarded matter, dross, refuse, remains, scrap, lumber, odds and ends; North Americantrash, garbage; Australian/New Zealandmullock
informal dreck, junk
British informal grot, gash
vulgar slang shit, crap
Archaeologydebitage
rare draff, raffle, raff, cultch, orts

Origin

early 17th century: from Anglo-Norman French floteson, from floter 'to float'.

Phrases

flotsam and jetsam

Useless or discarded objects.
More example sentences
  • Typical examples of materials found include visitor waste, flotsam and jetsam, off-shore fishing waste and articles such as cotton buds and materials washed down toilets.
  • I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him.
  • Consisting entirely of discovered letters, lists, angry diatribes and photographs, each issue of Found presents a glimpse into the oft-wondrous flotsam and jetsam of human existence.

Definition of flotsam in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day hypnopompic
Pronunciation: ˌhɪpnə(ʊ)ˈpɒmpɪk
adjective
relating to the state immediately preceding waking up