Flotsam and Jetsam
Flotsam and Jetsam : Phrases
Discarded odds and ends; destitute, homeless individuals.
The politicians were concerned about the flotsam and jetsam of the downtown city core.
These two terms originated from 17th-century sailing terminology. Flotsam' meant wreckage or cargo that remains afloat after a ship has sunk.
Jetsam meant goods thrown overboard from a ship in danger of sinking - in order to give it more buoyancy. Both literal meanings remain current, although the distinction between them is often forgotten.
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