verb (used with object) British.

Military. to overwhelm; surprise and destroy, disable, or massacre.
Informal. to prevent from happening or succeeding; ruin; wreck.

Origin of scupper

First recorded in 1880–85; origin uncertain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scuppered

Contemporary Examples of scuppered

Historical Examples of scuppered

  • The Huns had scuppered this battery and ransacked their dug-outs.

    Pushed and the Return Push

    George Herbert Fosdike Nichols, (AKA Quex)

  • You would probably have all been scuppered if we had got up with the ole man.

    On the Heels of De Wet

    The Intelligence Officer

  • He was in command of the post, and Major Mallery and the other officers with him might be scuppered.

    Cupid in Africa

    P. C. Wren

  • "Blacker thinks we ought to have temporised, and that we shall get scuppered," said Luttrell.

    The Summons

    A.E.W. Mason

  • "I don't think Durrance has got scuppered," said he, as he rose from his chair.

    The Four Feathers

    A. E. W. Mason

British Dictionary definitions for scuppered




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 for scupper

C15 skopper, of uncertain origin; perhaps related to scoop



verb (tr) British

slang to overwhelm, ruin, or disable
to sink (one's ship) deliberately

Word Origin for scupper

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

Word Origin and History for scuppered



"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