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.