from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A cask on a ship used to hold the day's supply of drinking water.
  • noun A drinking fountain on a ship.
  • noun Slang Gossip; rumor.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Nautical, a cask or butt having a scuttle or hole cut in it for the introduction of a cup or dipper, and used to hold drinking-water. Also called scuttle-cask.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun See scuttle butt.
  • noun A drinking fountain on board a ship or at a naval station.
  • noun The latest gossip; rumors.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun nautical, countable A butt with a scuttle, a keg of drinking water with a hole cut in it, on board ship.
  • noun informal, uncountable Gossip, rumour, idle chatter.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a report (often malicious) about the behavior of other people


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Alteration of scuttled butt, cask with a hole cut into it : scuttle, to cut a hole in (the hull of a ship) + butt. Sense 2, probably from fact that sailors would exchange gossip while taking a drink from the cask.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

scuttle +‎ butt. In sense of gossip, because sailors would gather around the scuttlebutt to drink and exchange gossip; compare water cooler and furphy.


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  • Maybe if I had spent less time keying into the words people were saying and more time making the rounds, I would have met more people, hmmm? LOL.

    But, what can I say, I am a logophile of the worst kind : )

    December 15, 2006

  • The original water cooler?

    March 5, 2007

  • Dwight, did you move the water cooler again just for the scuttlebutt?

    March 5, 2007

  • Link courtesy of reesetee (on the taken aback page).

    November 30, 2007

  • So, c_b, which of us is doing the list? :-)

    November 30, 2007

  • Umm... I vote you!

    November 30, 2007

  • Okay. Just didn't want to step on your bear claws. :-)

    November 30, 2007