- the wreckage of a ship or its cargo floating at sea
- odds and ends
- unemployed people who drift from place to place
Origin of flotsamAnglo-French floteson ; from Old French flotaison, a floating ; from floter, to float ; from Middle Dutch vloten (or Old English flotian), to float
- Goods floating on the surface of a body of water after a shipwreck or after being cast overboard to lighten the ship.
- Discarded or unimportant things: “Keyrings, bookmarks &ellipsis; gum, scissors, paper clips &ellipsis; pencils and pads stolen from various hotels: all this detritus, this flotsam of a life being lived at full throttle” (David Leavitt).
- People who are considered to be worthless or to have been rejected by society.
Origin of flotsamAnglo-Norman floteson, from Old French floter, to float, of Germanic origin; see pleu- in Indo-European roots.
(countable and uncountable, plural flotsams)