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[skuhp-er] /ˈskʌp ər/
Nautical. a drain at the edge of a deck exposed to the weather, for allowing accumulated water to drain away into the sea or into the bilges.
Compare freeing port.
a drain, closed by one or two flaps, for allowing water from the sprinkler system of a factory or the like to run off a floor of the building to the exterior.
any opening in the side of a building, as in a parapet, for draining off rain water.
Origin of scupper1
1475-85; earlier skoper. See scoop, -er1


[skuhp-er] /ˈskʌp ər/
verb (used with object), British.
Military. to overwhelm; surprise and destroy, disable, or massacre.
Informal. to prevent from happening or succeeding; ruin; wreck.
First recorded in 1880-85; origin uncertain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for scupper
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It obstructs the approaches to the 'scupper' in front of my cabin door.

    Oswald Langdon Carson Jay Lee
  • "Here, all hands," he ordered, and shoved his rifle out of the scupper.

    Gold Out of Celebes Aylward Edward Dingle
  • Then he indicated the two glasses, which had rolled into the scupper channel.

    Brandon of the Engineers

    Harold Bindloss
  • "Not so easy," he muttered, flicking the match into the scupper.

  • Sneak aboard, get into a scupper or a barrel or something, and ship for America.'

    From the Bottom Up

    Alexander Irvine
  • We had been put for safety into the hollow part of the boat where the seats are—I forget what they call it—the scupper, I think.

    The Militants Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews
  • There was a moment of profound silence during which a bow-legged seaman, stepping aside, expectorated decorously into the scupper.

  • scupper, sure that he was not actually going to be hit, escaped with an ease and jauntiness which he was far from feeling.

    The Penalty

    Gouverneur Morris
British Dictionary definitions for scupper


(nautical) a drain or spout allowing water on the deck of a vessel to flow overboard
an opening in the side of a building for draining off water
a drain in a factory floor for running off the water from a sprinkler system
Word Origin
C15 skopper, of uncertain origin; perhaps related to scoop


verb (transitive) (Brit)
(slang) to overwhelm, ruin, or disable
to sink (one's ship) deliberately
Word Origin
C19: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for scupper

"opening in a ship's side at deck level to let the water flow out," early 15c., perhaps from Old French escopir "to spit out," or related to Dutch schop "shovel," or from Middle English scope "scoop" (see scoop (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for scupper



A prostitute

[WWII Navy; probably fr the sewerish connotations of scupper, ''deck drain on a ship'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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