EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR FLOTSAM
They will find the courage to clear the land of the flotsam and cultivate it anew.
A scuttle-butt was torn from its lashings and went by the board, and other flotsam followed it.
Logs, planks, and the other flotsam of a freshet moved on in the van of the flood.
This is my estate, and all flotsam and jetsam as is washed ashore is mine.
The rest were in character with Grants nearer companions—just flotsam.
Among the torn bodies the flotsam of war lay unheeded in the mud.
The flotsam and jetsam are mere shreds and fragments of wasted lives.
Am I to drift always about the world, a mere piece of flotsam on Swansea tide?
There were bits of flotsam, including coconuts that had washed in.
I tell you it was good to sit by the side of that ragged piece of flotsam.
c.1600, from Anglo-French floteson, from Old French flotaison "a floating," from floter "to float" (of Germanic origin; see float) + -aison, from Latin -ation(em). Spelled flotsen till mid-19c. when it altered, perhaps under influence of many English words in -some.
In British law, flotsam are goods found floating on the sea as a consequence of a shipwreck or action of wind or waves; jetsam are things cast out of a ship in danger of being wrecked, and afterward washed ashore, or things cast ashore by the sailors. Whatever sinks is lagan. Figurative use for "odds and ends" attested by 1861.