Definitions

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

  • n. Nautical An opening in the side of a ship at deck level to allow water to run off.
  • n. An opening for draining off water, as from a floor or the roof of a building.
  • transitive v. Chiefly British To overwhelm or massacre.
  • transitive v. To ruin or destroy: "The world oil glut combined with disastrous federal energy policies to scupper Alberta's economy” ( Christian Science Monitor).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A drainage hole on the deck of a ship.
  • n. A similar opening in a wall or parapet that allows water to drain from a roof.
  • v. Thwart or destroy, especially something belonging or pertaining to another; compare scuttle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An opening cut through the waterway and bulwarks of a ship, so that water falling on deck may flow overboard; -- called also scupper hole.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Nautical, an opening in the side of a ship at the level of the deck, or slanting from it, to allow water to run off; also, the gutter or channel surrounding the deck, and leading to such openings: often in the plural.

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

  • n. drain that allows water on the deck of a vessel to flow overboard
  • v. wait in hiding to attack
  • v. put in a dangerous, disadvantageous, or difficult position

Etymologies

Middle English scoper- (in scopernail, nail for attaching scupper-leathers to a ship), probably from scopen, to scoop, from scope, a scoop; see scoop.
Perhaps from scupper1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Dutch schcepen ("to draw off") (Wiktionary)
Of unknown origin. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Race one between Alinghi and Damiani Italia saw Damiani win the first start and lead upwind only to have a erroneous 'over the line' call scupper the race which was re-started 20 minutes later.

    Sail-World.com USA Latest News

  • He told the BBC News Channel's Straight Talk that the prime minister wanted to "scupper" his party by leaving "a legacy afterwards which is difficult". "

    Archive 2008-09-01

  • Like Love Story there's an underlying threat of a cruel fate about to scupper the lives of this mismatched yet oddly yoked pair.

    One Day – review

  • Yeah, you might catch a few wrinkle-neck scupper trout around STL.!!!

    Mississippi River Declared Flies Only, Catch-and-Release

  • But investors headed for the exits in recent days, with a particularly sharp selloff Friday, on fears that Greek politicians might scupper austerity measures demanded by international bodies as a condition of a bailout.

    Vote Could Reignite Emerging-Market Currencies

  • "Essentially, the Canadians are trying to scupper European climate protection measures to protect their interests—primarily in America."

    Canada, EU Spar Over Climate Rule

  • Harry Redknapp has urged Los Angeles Galaxy not to scupper David Beckham's potential move to Tottenham by dragging their heels over a decision

    David Beckham willing to take wage cut to secure Tottenham loan

  • The dynamite struck the deck in a compact package, bounded, and rolled into the port scupper.

    THE DEVILS OF FUATINO

  • Of course, weeds don't have a "purpose," least of all to deliberately scupper our best-laid plans.

    Why We Must Learn to Love Weeds

  • Russia has declared its intention to scupper any attempt to force President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to step down, denouncing a push for a new United Nations security council resolution backed by the US and UK as "meddling" that could lead to conflict and military intervention.

    Syria resolution faces Russian opposition at UN security council

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