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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A butt with a scuttle, a keg of drinking water with a hole cut in it, on board ship.
  • n. Gossip, rumour, idle chatter.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a butt or cask with a large hole in it, used to contain the fresh water for daily use in a ship.
  • n. See scuttle butt.
  • n. A drinking fountain on board a ship or at a naval station.
  • n. The latest gossip; rumors.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

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


scuttle1 + butt5.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
scuttle +‎ butt. In sense of gossip, because sailors would gather around the scuttlebutt to drink and exchange gossip; compare water cooler and furphy. (Wiktionary)



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

    November 30, 2007

  • Umm... I vote you!

    November 30, 2007

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

    November 30, 2007

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

    November 30, 2007

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

    March 5, 2007

  • The original water cooler?

    March 5, 2007

  • 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