9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[skuht-l-buht] /ˈskʌt lˌbʌt/
  1. an open cask of drinking water.
  2. a drinking fountain for use by the crew of a vessel.
Informal. rumor or gossip.
Origin of scuttlebutt
1795-1805; 1900-05 for def 2; scuttle3 + butt4 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scuttlebutt
  • Office scuttlebutt has it that he has been dismissed.
  • scuttlebutt from that conference has already started fueling speculation about how important this new dinosaur might be.
  • Because the winner has yet to step forward, the scuttlebutt was even more open-ended.
  • It was written in the optimistic belief that open debate beats backroom scuttlebutt.
  • Everyone monitors the scuttlebutt about promotions and overtime far more diligently than their meteorological instruments.
  • Yes, they rise and fall with every paranoid scuttlebutt of the marketplace, but the general direction is definitely north.
  • The tie-in was a rickety link to scuttlebutt on the web about it, but that's about it.
  • Give us any scuttlebutt you might have of rumors of takeovers and acquisitions as such.
British Dictionary definitions for scuttlebutt


noun (nautical)
a drinking fountain
(formerly) a cask of drinking water aboard a ship
(mainly US, slang) rumour or gossip
Word Origin
C19: from scuttle³ + butt4
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for scuttlebutt

1805, "cask of drinking water kept on a ship's deck, having a hole (scuttle) cut in it for a cup or dipper," from scuttle "opening in a ship's deck" (see scuttle (v.2)) + butt (n.2) "barrel." Earlier scuttle cask (1777). Meaning "rumor, gossip" first recorded 1901, originally nautical slang, traditionally said to be from the sailors' custom of gathering around the scuttlebutt to gossip. Cf. water-cooler, figurative for "workplace gossip" mid-20c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for scuttlebutt



Rumors; gossip; presumed confidential information: worry about a slump, according to business scuttlebutt

[1901+ Navy; fr the chitchat around the scuttlebutt, ''drinking fountain, water cask,'' on naval vessels]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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