These two always go together, don’t they? Whether used literally or figuratively, they basically form a binomial pair, an expression made up of two words commonly joined by and or or. But what exactly is the difference between flotsam and jetsam?
If you take a look at each word, you might figure it out. Both refer to debris from a shipwreck, but jetsam specifically refers to objects deliberately thrown overboard (or jettisoned!), probably in order to lighten the load of the ship. Flotsam is simply any debris that was not deliberately thrown overboard. You know, it just floated away.
And now you know!