1. floating wreckage of a ship or its cargo; broadly: floating debris
2a. floating population (as of emigrants or castaways)
b. miscellaneous or unimportant material
c. debris, remains
(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 12 May 2020)
Use it in a sentence
‘Shall we see if there’s any flotsam on the beach after last night’s storm?’
She raised her eyebrows. ‘That’s sounds like a very Boy Scout thing to do.’
He laughed and shucked his head. Things were starting to get back to normal between them, but they were somewhat still reserved with each other, at pains to be polite. ‘We don’t have to.’
‘Actually, I think “flotsam” sounds like a 19th century maid’s name. Like Daisy or Bessy. I can just hear it – “Flotsam, tend to my muddy boots at once, there’s a girl. But first, fetch the tea”’.
He snorted. ‘And that sounds like a very romantic school girl thing to say’. He glanced sideways quickly, to check if he’d offended her. It happened to both of them so easily these days. But he caught a small, wry smile on her lips.
‘Well, what shall we do then? Look for flotsam or have tea?’ She sounded playful in a way that she hadn’t for a long time.
She turned to look at him then. Eye contact was still fraught, but she looked at him and nodded. ‘Let’s do both then’. They held the eye contact for a long moment and smiled at one another.
- incapable of being subdued: unconquerable
(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 10 May 2020)
Use it in a sentence
At first, the ship only rolled gently from side to side, as though tipsy on the French champagne served in the First Class dining room. It amused the guests to sway and trip lightly on the dance floor. The women tittered and the men chuckled, and they sat down, lightheaded, and chatted politely instead about politics and music. Nothing too outlandish or controversial. No one was in the mood to make a fuss. The orchestra had too fine a string section, and heads nodded gently, feet tapped.
When the ship started tipping forward and backwards as well, there were some cries of ‘oh!’ from the more delicate ladies. One or two of the young men coughed and excused themselves, declaring they were tired, but instead headed straight out on to the deck for fresh air. Not that it helped. Their tuxedos were soon damp from the sea spray and their carefully oiled back hair soon splayed across their foreheads in a reckless fashion.
Staff bustled about on decks, locking away shuffleboard equipment, folding up chairs and throwing cushions and rugs into a large metal container. ‘It’s going to be a big one!’ one of the staff sang out cheerfully as the remaining promenaders made their way inside, the wind slamming the watertight doors after them.
No one noticed the elegant lady in the beaded blue dress coming down the steps from the top deck. She was flushed with excitement, never having been outside in such a storm, and at sea as well! She braced herself against the fierce wind, her head piece had been whipped out into the dark night already. No one noticed either, when she was knocked off balance, tripped midway down, and catapulted forward and over the too-low deck railing. The splash as she hit the sea was lost in the roar of the indomitable ocean storm, that seemed to roar with pleasure at having claimed another trophy.
- the fifth and highest element in ancient and medieval philosophy that permeates all nature and is the substance composing the celestial bodies
- the essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form
- the most typical example or representative
(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 6 May 2020)
Use it in a sentence
The rotting banana reeked of sweet sweat and congealed blood. Not that she knew what that smelt like. The banana only resembled that fruit – blackened and squashed, covered in a spattering of ecstatic flies. ‘Blurgh,’ she thought. It was the quintessence of decay, of rot. She peered a little closer and gave it a gentle shove with her shoe. The flies reeled back, disturbed, but quickly settled down again. How did so many of them get into the house?
That cretin of an ex-boyfriend left this mess right in the middle of their kitchen – squashed it right into the floorboards with the heel of his boot, knowing she was going away for two weeks. She broke up with him the night before, thinking it was for the best – a civil, clean break, and forced separation. But he left this calling card, cleared out his stuff (and some of hers), and left the key on the table (at least that). Her eyes narrowed, and she brushed the hair off the back of her neck, her skin crawling.
He knew bananas made her gag.