/flot"seuhm/, n.
1. the part of the wreckage of a ship and its cargo found floating on the water. Cf. jetsam, lagan.
2. material or refuse floating on water.
3. useless or unimportant items; odds and ends.
4. a vagrant, penniless population: the flotsam of the city slums in medieval Europe. Also called flotsam and jetsam (for defs. 3, 4).
[1600-10; < AF floteson, deriv. of floter to float < OE flotian]

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Universalium. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • flotsam — flot·sam / flät səm/ n: floating wreckage of a ship or its cargo compare jetsam Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. flotsam …   Law dictionary

  • flotsam — ► NOUN ▪ wreckage found floating on the sea. Compare with JETSAM(Cf. ↑jetsam). ● flotsam and jetsam Cf. ↑flotsam and jetsam ORIGIN Old French floteson, from floter to float …   English terms dictionary

  • flotsam — [flät′səm] n. [Anglo Fr floteson < OFr flotaison, a floating < floter, to float < MDu vloten (or OE flotian), to FLOAT] 1. the wreckage of a ship or its cargo floating at sea 2. odds and ends 3. unemployed people who drift from place to… …   English World dictionary

  • flotsam — c.1600, from Anglo Fr. floteson, from O.Fr. flotaison a floating, from floter to float (of Germanic origin; see FLOAT (Cf. float)) + aison, from L. ation(em). Spelled flotsen till mid 19c. when it altered, perhaps under influence of many English… …   Etymology dictionary

  • flotsam — UK [ˈflɒtsəm] / US [ˈflɑtsəm] or flotsam and jetsam UK [ˌflɒtsəm ən ˈdʒetsəm] / US [ˌflɑtsəm ən ˈdʒetsəm] noun [uncountable] 1) things that you find floating in the sea or lying on the beach, especially parts of a ship that has sunk 2) things… …   English dictionary

  • flotsam — flotsam, flotsan /flotsam/ A name for the goods which float upon the sea when cast overboard for the safety of the ship, or when a ship is sunk. Distinguished from jetsam (goods deliberately thrown over to lighten ship) and ligan …   Black's law dictionary

  • Flotsam — Flot sam, Flotson Flot son, n. [F. flotter to float. See {FFlotilla}, and cf. {Jetsam}.] (Law) Goods lost by shipwreck, and floating on the sea; in distinction from jetsam or jetson. Blackstone. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • flotsam — [n] floating debris cargo, castoffs, jetsam, junk, odds and ends, sea drift, wreckage; concepts 260,674 …   New thesaurus

  • flotsam — [[t]flɒ̱tsəm[/t]] 1) N UNCOUNT Flotsam is rubbish, for example bits of wood and plastic, that is floating on the sea or has been left by the sea on the shore. The water was full of flotsam and refuse. 2) N UNCOUNT You can use flotsam to refer to… …   English dictionary

  • flotsam — noun Etymology: Anglo French floteson, from floter to float, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English flotian to float, flota ship Date: circa 1607 1. floating wreckage of a ship or its cargo; broadly floating debris 2. a. a floating population… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • flotsam — flot|sam [ˈflɔtsəm US ˈfla: ] n [U] [Date: 1600 1700; : Anglo French; Origin: floteson, from Old French floter to float ] 1.) broken pieces of wood and other things from a wrecked ship, floating in the sea or scattered on the shore ▪ He would… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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