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Origin of scuttlebutt

1795–1805; 1900–05 for def 2; scuttle3 + butt4 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for scuttlebutt

blather, hearsay, grapevine, meddling, chitchat, talk, babble, prattle, chatter, rumor

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Contemporary Examples of scuttlebutt

Historical Examples of scuttlebutt

British Dictionary definitions for scuttlebutt


noun nautical
  1. a drinking fountain
  2. (formerly) a cask of drinking water aboard a ship
  3. mainly US slang rumour or gossip

Word Origin for scuttlebutt

C19: from scuttle ³ + butt 4
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 scuttlebutt

1805, "cask of drinking water kept on a ship's deck, having a hole (scuttle) cut in it for a cup or dipper," from scuttle "opening in a ship's deck" (see scuttle (v.2)) + butt (n.2) "barrel." Earlier scuttle cask (1777). Meaning "rumor, gossip" first recorded 1901, originally nautical slang, traditionally said to be from the sailors' custom of gathering around the scuttlebutt to gossip. Cf. water-cooler, figurative for "workplace gossip" mid-20c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper