scut·​tle·​butt | \ ˈskə-tᵊl-ˌbət How to pronounce scuttlebutt (audio) \

Definition of scuttlebutt

1a : a cask on shipboard to contain fresh water for a day's use
b : a drinking fountain on a ship or at a naval or marine installation
2 : rumor, gossip

Synonyms for scuttlebutt


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Scuttlebutt, the Water Cooler Talk of 19th Century Seafarers

Nowadays, office workers catch up on the latest scuttlebutt around the water cooler, and when they do, they are continuing a long-standing (although not necessarily honorable) tradition. That kind of gossip sharing probably also occurred on the sailing ships of yore. Back in the early 1800s, the cask containing a ship's daily supply of freshwater was called a scuttlebutt; that name was later applied to a drinking fountain on a ship or at a naval installation. By the early 20th century, the term for the water source was also applied to the gossip and rumors generated around it, and the latest chatter has been called scuttlebutt ever since.

Examples of scuttlebutt in a Sentence

according to scuttlebutt in the financial markets, the company will be downsizing soon
Recent Examples on the Web That’s what happened with all the Trump-Russia investigations, documents, trials and scuttlebutt — the network gorged on it all. Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2021 Altman might have preserved such wit, but according to industry scuttlebutt, producer Dino De Laurentiis deliberately gave the project to the wrong director. Armond White, National Review, 12 Nov. 2021 With the Mets in town, Attanasio also was asked about industry scuttlebutt that New York might make a play on Stearns, who is from that city and has done a fabulous job rebuilding the Brewers. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 25 Sep. 2021 Heck, the scuttlebutt about Giannis Antetokounmpo has never really gone away in the Bay Area. Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 Sep. 2021 In the mid-1990s, the Drudge Report was part Hollywood scuttlebutt, part D.C. dish and arrived just in time to take advantage of the new, lawless internet. Los Angeles Times, 21 Sep. 2021 At least, that was last week’s scuttlebutt—senators from both parties dismissed last Wednesday’s failed procedural vote as nothing to worry about and talked as if a deal was imminent, perhaps by midweek. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 26 July 2021 There’s a lot of scuttlebutt in the trade media about chances of the organization maybe deciding to unleash even more supply onto the market. Jj Kinahan, Forbes, 29 June 2021 The scuttlebutt is between $20 to $25 per 1 liter bottle. Joseph V Micallef, Forbes, 20 June 2021

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

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First Known Use of scuttlebutt

circa 1805, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for scuttlebutt

alteration of scuttled butt butt with a hole cut into it

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The first known use of scuttlebutt was circa 1805

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Last Updated

28 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scuttlebutt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of scuttlebutt

: talk or stories about someone that may not be true


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