I was discussing the verb to jettison with a native speaker, and my interlocutor gave an example:

I was jettisoned from the bar. [for bad behavior]

Was this usage sloppy or it is legitimate? My guess is that it is sloppy. For me this verb has two feelings: to throw something away (an action) which is no longer needed (a reason). My friend grasped only the action meaning in his sentence, but the verb has a strong reason component, which doesn't fit into the situation. Its usage would be more legitimate in this context:

I was a bartender at the bar. But the owners decided they didn't need me anymore. I was jettison from the bar.

  • It would depend on whether it was a sailor bar.
    – TimR
    Jan 17, 2015 at 0:18
  • 1
    Your term usage usage: what does this mean?
    – user6951
    Jan 17, 2015 at 8:36
  • A person with bad behavior is not needed in a bar, so I don't see the issue. Yes one can use jettison here. Few things mean exactly the same. Other possibilities include expulsed, ejected, thrown out, and even rejected if 'given' a new one-off meaning.
    – user6951
    Jan 17, 2015 at 8:48
  • If you wish to say "expulsed" (and to be understood), say "expelled". Expulse/expulsed is going out of use; it is in dictionaries, but some dictionaries call it obsolete. Oddly enough, we do still use the noun form "expulsion", Jan 17, 2015 at 10:19

3 Answers 3


Originally, the verb jettison is used to throw something from a moving ship or plane to make it lighter. But it's also used informally in the sense of "throw away/off"

Please throw the towel to me. You cannot throw the blame on me, he threw his opponent to the ground.

You cannot replace "jettison" with "throw" in the above senses.

You can replace jettison only with "throw off/away", which means to get rid of or discard someone or something (material or immaterial) that is causing harm, or annoying you, or no longer useful to you.

I jettisoned all the old clothes. The plan was jettisoned as it was very expensive. The captain jettisoned him from the team because of his constant poor performance. It's also correct to say "I was jettisoned from the bar for bad behavior."

  • +1 especially for pointing out the difference between throw and throw out / throw away.
    – user6951
    Jan 17, 2015 at 8:42
  • or his girlfriend jettisoned him for not giving her gifts. "His girlfriend jettisoned him for not having enough sex"
    – Boris
    Jul 29, 2017 at 12:20

The difference between "to throw" and "to jettison" arises after the act has occurred.

One can throw an object in a direction, or at another object. You can throw a ball at your friend. When one jettisons something, one has little to no control over where it goes afterwards.

When used colloquially, as it is used in your examples, "to jettison" gives more of an "anywhere but here" mentality with little care to what happens afterwards, while the potential for direction with "to throw" makes it more neutral.


In America, one gets "thrown out of a bar". This is closer in meaning to jettison than is the simple "throw" ("thrown from a bar" would rarely be heard).

"Throwing out trash" is virtually identical to jettisoning it, but hardly anyone would say jettison, unless they are on a boat or ship. Not in regard to trash, nor to a person.

But "throwing out" a person carries a more forceful connotation, and implies a conflict between people, often involving physical force (if the person went willingly, he wouldn't have to be "thrown out".) However, it could be used after the fact, as an exaggeration, if the person was asked to leave, and complied, but later wanted to claim that he stood his ground until physically ejected from the bar.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .