flotsam and jetsam


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flotsam and jetsam

1. Literally, the items that have been lost (flotsam) or discarded (jetsam) from a ship that has capsized or sunk. Investigators are busy picking through all the flotsam and jetsam that washed ashore after the crash.
2. Jumbled sundry items. We need to move all the flotsam and jetsam out of these drawers. I mean, cough drops and batteries probably shouldn't be stored together anyway.
3. Things that are unnecessary or trivial. Imagine all that I could remember if flotsam and jetsam like the lyrics to every Disney song weren't taking up space in my head!
4. Homeless people. City council may have forgotten about our flotsam and jetsam, but some of us still make volunteering at the homeless shelter a priority.
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flotsam and jetsam

 
1. Lit. the floating wreckage of a ship and its cargo, or floating cargo deliberately cast overboard to stabilize a ship in a rough sea. All sorts of flotsam and jetsam washed up on the beach.
2. Fig. worthless matter; worthless encumbrances. His mind is burdened with the flotsam and jetsam of many years of poor instruction and lax study habits. Your report would be better if you could get rid of a lot of the flotsam and jetsam and clean up the grammar a bit.
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flotsam and jetsam

1. Discarded odds and ends, as in Most of our things have been moved to the new house, but there's still some flotsam and jetsam to sort . [Mid-1800s]
2. Destitute, homeless individuals, as in The mayor was concerned about the flotsam and jetsam of the inner city. [Second half of 1900s] Both words originated in 17th-century sailing terminology. Flotsam literally meant "wreckage or cargo that remains afloat after a ship has sunk." Jetsam meant "goods thrown overboard from a ship in danger of sinking in order to give it more buoyancy." Both literal meanings remain current, although the distinction between them is often forgotten.
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flotsam and jetsam

Flotsam and jetsam is used to refer to small or unimportant items that are found together, usually in an untidy way. We found cornflake packets, bottles, and all the flotsam and jetsam of the kitchen. Note: The phrase `flotsam and jetsam' was originally used to describe things that were washed onto the shore from the sea, for instance after a shipwreck.
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flotsam and jetsam

useless or discarded objects.
Flotsam refers to the wreckage of a ship or its cargo found floating on or washed up by the sea, while jetsam is unwanted material thrown overboard from a ship and washed ashore. The two nouns are seldom used independently, almost always appearing together in this phrase.
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ˌflotsam and ˈjetsam


1 parts of boats, pieces of wood or rubbish, etc. that are found floating on the sea or along the shore; any kind of rubbish: The beaches are wide and filled with interesting flotsam and jetsam.
2 people who have no home or job and who move from place to place, often rejected by society: Under the bridge, you see the human flotsam and jetsam of a big city.
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flotsam and jetsam

Odds and ends; trash. These words for a ship’s wreckage and cargo floating at sea (flotsam, from the Old French floter, to float) and goods thrown overboard to lighten a ship (jetsam, from the French jeter, to throw) date from the early sixteenth century. Only in the nineteenth century were they used figuratively, for odds and ends of things as well as for human vagrants. Several twentieth-century humorists punned on them, including the poet Ogden Nash (No Doctors Today, Thank You, 1942): “Does anybody want any flotsam? I’ve gotsam. Does anybody want any jetsam? I’ll getsam.”
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References in periodicals archive ?
The arrogance and uncivility they displayed towards those who were less fortunate the human flotsam and jetsam of the industrial tide.
The flotsam and jetsam have left the building - let the battle commence.
Do the flotsam and jetsam in their tents feel any affinity to the teachings of Jesus?
The black kitten, aged 10 months, was discovered floating amid flotsam and jetsam just metres from rapids on the River Taff.
Help rangers clear the flotsam and jetsam off the beach after the winter storms then head off for a bracing winter walk along the coastal path to Inverkip.
Host Stephen Fry is joined by Charlie Higson, Andy Hamilton, Rob Brydon and Alan Davies to discuss topics including flotsam and jetsam, awarding points not for the correct answers but for those he finds most interesting.
The snipers see it as a dreadful comedown, to leave mainstream TV to join the flotsam and jetsam way down the pecking order.
There are serious messages among this humorous flotsam and jetsam - one reminds us that the places where we are born and
Metallica, Flotsam and Jetsam, Slayer, and VOIVOD were all on Metal Blade and were all vying for the same dollar and gigs.
That means flotsam and jetsam is costing Londoners on average pounds 31,320.
In all their oeuvres (think of a Cornell box or a Rauschenberg Combine), the elegance and unity of a finished work at first conceal the full range of flotsam and jetsam that work contains.
At Covehythe, south of Lowestoft on the Suffolk coast in the 1920s, there was found among the flotsam and jetsam that litter the beach at low tide a slim, fair-haired, teenage girl - naked but for a riding boot on her right foot.
The flotsam and jetsam that washes up on beaches can tell scientists much about ocean processes.
Or is she, at her low tide, dragging up the flotsam and jetsam of previously encoded behaviors: tears, grimaces, terror, random words, all signifying nothing?
Thursday, March 8 Ellington flower club, demonstration by Audrey Foster entitled "Love Affair with wood" Thursday, March 15 Dunelm Flower Club, Lucy Hutton Smith will present Flotsam and jetsam. All demonstrations are held at Durham High School for Girls, Farewall Hall, South Road, Durham, DH1 3TB.