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Word of the Day
Friday, January 24, 2003

Definitions for scuttlebutt

  1. A drinking fountain on a ship.
  2. A cask on a ship that contains the day's supply of drinking water.
  3. Informal. Gossip; rumor.

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Citations for scuttlebutt
What were they talking about? Sports? Neighborhood scuttlebutt? Off-color jokes? I didn't know; I knew only how exciting it was to see Dad in action. Eric Liu, The Accidental Asian
It was written in the optimistic belief that open debate beats backroom scuttlebutt. Jon Entine, Taboo
Origin of scuttlebutt
1795-1805
Scuttlebutt comes from scuttle, "a small opening" + butt, "a large cask" -- that is, a small hole cut into a cask or barrel to allow individual cups of water to be drawn out. The modern equivalent is the office water cooler, also a source of refreshment and gossip.