Where Did the Term “Scuttlebutt” Come From, What Does it Mean, and How Did the Word Originate?

The word scuttlebutt comes from sailors of the British Navy.

Nineteenth-century warships had large wooden casks with holes cut in the lid for drinking water.

The word scuttle means a hole, like the one created to scuttle a ship, or in this case, the one in the cask.

The water cask itself was called a butt.

And just as is done around the water coolers of today’s offices, sailors exchanged the latest gossip while getting a drink at the scuttlebutt.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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