Scuttlebutt means water fountain or a rumor. [ Definition of scuttlebutt from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary ] Retrieved 2008-03-16 ]

As Slang

Water for immediate consumption on a sailing ship was conventionally stored in a scuttled butt: a butt (cask or small barrel) which had been scuttled by making a hole in it so the water could be withdrawn. Since sailors exchanged gossip when they gathered at the scuttlebutt for a drink of water, scuttlebutt became Navy slang for gossip or rumors.

Regatta Event

In the United States, Sea Scout regattas include a variety of events, one of which is scuttle butt, or formally "Raising of the Scuttlebutt." In the event a 50 gallon drum of water is lifted 3 feet off the ground using a block and tackle and a tripod. The tripod is constructed from three spars, which are tied together by "head-lashing." The block and tackle is suspended from the top of the tripod, which is then erected by the crew. A barrel hitch is tied around the drum, which is then lifted off the ground. It must then be lowered and the equipment "broken down" back to its original condition. Time stops when all crew members are back in line and called to attention by the coxswain. There are three trials per crew, and the crew with the fastest time wins. Disqualification can occur when water is spilled or if crew other than the coxswain (and sometimes the barrel hitchers) talk. The event can be completed from start to finish in around 30 seconds with a veteran crew and a perfect run. A run under a minute is generally considered good.

ee also

*Water cooler and Furphy WW1 Australian Army slang same meaning and provenance as above; also in general use (somewhat arcane now)


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • scuttlebutt — 1805, water cask kept on a ship s deck, from scuttle opening in a ship s deck (see scuttle (v.2)) + butt barrel. Earlier scuttle cask (1777). Meaning rumor, gossip first recorded 1901, originally nautical slang, traditionally said to be from… …   Etymology dictionary

  • scuttlebutt — scut tle*butt (sk[u^]t t l*b[u^]t ), n. 1. See {scuttle butt}. [PJC] 2. A drinking fountain on board a ship or at a naval station. [PJC] 3. The latest gossip; rumors. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • scuttlebutt — index report (rumor) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • scuttlebutt — [n] gossip babble, back fence talk*, blather, chatter, chitchat, dirty laundry*, grapevine*, hearsay, meddling, prattle, rumor, talk; concepts 274,278 …   New thesaurus

  • scuttlebutt — [skut′ l but΄] n. [orig. < scuttled butt, a cask or butt with an opening for a dipper] 1. Naut. a drinking fountain on shipboard ☆ 2. Informal rumor or gossip …   English World dictionary

  • scuttlebutt — noun /ˈskʌtəlbʌt/ a) A butt with a scuttle, a keg of drinking water with a hole cut in it, on board ship. Leaning over the scuttlebutt one afternoon, Bond suddenly realized hed been gulping water for maybe a minute. b) Gossip, rumour, idle… …   Wiktionary

  • scuttlebutt — n American gossip or rumour. The scuttlebutt was a cask or fountain of drinking water on board naval ships, around which news was exchanged. ► I hear some scuttlebutt says he likes to kick the ladies around. (Night Game, US film, 1988) …   Contemporary slang

  • scuttlebutt — n. gossip. □ What’s the scuttlebutt on the steeple clock? Why did it stop? □ Don’t pay any attention to the scuttlebutt around here …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • scuttlebutt — scut|tle|butt [ˈskʌtlbʌt] n [U] AmE informal [Date: 1900 2000; Origin: scuttlebutt container for a ship s drinking water (19 20 centuries), from scuttled having a hole cut in it (18 19 centuries) (from SCUTTLE1) + butt large container for liquid …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • scuttlebutt — /ˈskʌtlbʌt / (say skutlbut) noun 1. Nautical a cask having a hole cut in it for the introduction of a cup or dipper, and used to hold drinking water. 2. Colloquial rumour; gossip: *Mr William s accusations were scuttlebutt based on chitchat on a… …   Australian English dictionary

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