1

scupper

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noun scup·per \ˈskə-pər\

Definition of scupper

  1. 1 :  an opening cut through the bulwarks of a ship so that water falling on deck may flow overboard

  2. 2 :  an opening in the wall of a building through which water can drain from a floor or flat roof

scupper was our Word of the Day on 09/12/2015. Hear the podcast!

Origin and Etymology of scupper

Middle English skopper- (in compounds), perhaps from Anglo-French *escopoir, from escopir to spit out


First Known Use: 15th century


2

scupper

verb scup·per

Definition of scupper

British

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to defeat or put an end to :  do in 1a

Examples of scupper in a sentence

  1. The latest information could scupper the peace talks.

Did You Know?

All efforts to figure out where this verb came from have been defeated, including attempts to connect it to the noun scupper, a 500-year-old word for a drain opening in the side of a ship. (One conjecture, that the blood of shipboard battle was "scuppered" when it was washed down the scuppers, unfortunately lacks backing in the form of any actual evidence of the verb used this way.) All we know for sure is that scupper meant "to ambush and massacre" in 19th-century military slang. Then, just before the century turned, it found its place in a magazine story in the sense of simply "doing (someone) in." The more common modern application to things rather than people being done in or defeated didn't appear until a couple of decades into the 20th century.

Origin and Etymology of scupper

origin unknown


First Known Use: 1899


SCUPPER Defined for English Language Learners

1

scupper

play
noun scup·per \ˈskə-pər\

Definition of scupper for English Language Learners

  • : a hole in the side of a boat that allows water to drain from the deck


2

scupper

verb scup·per

Definition of scupper for English Language Learners

  • : to cause (something) to stop or fail

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to cast off or become cast off

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