1

scupper

noun scup·per \ ˈskə-pər \

Definition of scupper

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

Recent Examples of scupper from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scupper.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of scupper

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


2

scupper

verb

Definition of scupper

transitive verb
British
: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.

Recent Examples of scupper from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scupper.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

scupper Has Military Origins

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


SCUPPER Defined for English Language Learners

scupper

noun

Definition of scupper for English Language Learners

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


scupper

verb

Definition of scupper for English Language Learners

  • : to cause (something) to stop or fail


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