scuttlebutt

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noun scut·tle·butt \ˈskə-təl-ˌbət\

Definition of scuttlebutt

  1. 1a :  a cask on shipboard to contain freshwater for a day's useb :  a drinking fountain on a ship or at a naval or marine installation

  2. 2 :  rumor, gossip

scuttlebutt was our Word of the Day on 06/25/2010. Hear the podcast!

Examples of scuttlebutt in a sentence

  1. according to scuttlebutt in the financial markets, the company will be downsizing soon

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of scuttlebutt

alteration of scuttled butt butt with a hole cut into it


First Known Use: circa 1805

Other Nautical Terms


SCUTTLEBUTT Defined for English Language Learners

scuttlebutt

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noun scut·tle·butt \ˈskə-təl-ˌbət\

Definition of scuttlebutt for English Language Learners

  • : talk or stories about someone that may not be true



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