1. Goods floating on the surface of a body of water after a shipwreck or after being cast overboard to lighten the ship.
2. 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).
3. People who are considered to be worthless or to have been rejected by society.
[Anglo-Norman floteson, from Old French floter, to float, of Germanic origin; see pleu- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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