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 American trash, garbage; Australian/New Zealand mullock
    informal dreck, junk
    British informal grot, gash
    vulgar slang shit, crap
    Archaeology debitage
    rare draff, raffle, raff, cultch, orts

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.

Origin

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

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