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Word of the Day
Monday, June 25, 2018

Definitions for scupper

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

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Citations for scupper
A row between the EEC and the US is threatening to scupper the UN Convention on the Ozone Layer, which was to have been agreed in Vienna next month. , "Ozone agreement up in the air," New Scientist, February 7, 1985
McMaster has tried to prevent his celebrity from scuppering his career. Patrick Radden Keefe, "McMaster and Commander," The New Yorker, April 30, 2018
Origin of scupper
The origin of the verb scupper is uncertain. It originated as military slang (“to surprise and slaughter; utterly defeat”). The verb scupper may be a development from the noun scupper “an opening in a ship's side even with the deck to allow water to flow away,” but the semantic development is unclear. Scupper entered English in the 19th century.