- 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 … gum, scissors, paper clips … 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)