Sailor Speak of the Week – Jetsam

Definition

Noun

  • Objects thrown over the side, usually to lighten the vessel. (Contrast with Flotsam)

Origin

16th century Anglo-Norman word, getteson. Also Old French, getaison (same meaning).

Comments

An easy way to remember the difference between flotsam and jetsam is that jetsam is intentionally thrown overboard, as in, jettisoned. Whereas, flotsam, floats to the surface when the vessel sinks.

References

Crowell, J. (2003, October 31). Naval Terminology, Jargon and Slang FAQ Part 1 – A through M. Retrieved from http://www.hazegray.org/faq/slang1.htm

Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic, CT: Mystic Seaport Museum.

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