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SCUTTLEBUTT

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SCUTTLEBUTT

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Jan 02, 2007 12:51 am

• scuttlebutt •

Pronunciation: skê-dêl-bêt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: 1. The drinking fountain or other source of water aboard a ship. 2. Gossip, rumors.

Notes: Although it originally referred to gossip picked up around the water cooler (see Word History), today this Good Word refers to any kind of gossip or rumors. It began its life as an adjective in phrases like scuttlebutt rumor and a scuttlebutt yarn, talk around the water container, whatever it was. But in the 30s it began to spread through the general language until it became a fixture of English vocabulary.

In Play: Today's word is available when you need a word longer than rumor or gossip or when you tire of using these two old stand-bys: "The scuttlebutt has it that Faye Slift has had so much cosmetic surgery on her face that every time she sits down she grins." Scuttlebutt no longer has to be gossip picked up by the water cooler—but that remains a verygood spot to get the latest: "I hear Wadley got a transmotion (lateral change of positions) to Kuala Lumpur."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a lexical gift from the US Navy. It originated as a British naval slang phrase, scuttled butt, the keg for drinking water on board a ship. As a result, scuttlebutt originally referred exclusively to the gossip you pick up around the water cooler. To scuttle means "to cut a hole in something" and is still used in reference to sinking a boat or ship. But a hole in a butt (keg) of water allows access to the contents. Now, I know what you are thinking and butt has nothing to do with that. The British Navy lifted this word from Old French boute, a descendant of Latin bottis "cask, keg". A small cask was a butticula in Latin, a word that Old French converted to botele and passed on to English as bottle. (The scuttlebutt around the alphaDictionary water cooler is that Lenn Zonder suggested today's Good Word and you can bottle our scuttlebutt.)
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Postby Perry » Tue Jan 02, 2007 1:05 am

Shiver me timbers. I've always liked this word.
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Postby Bailey » Tue Jan 02, 2007 1:41 am

scuttlebutt sounds potable indeed. Kinda like bilge water.

mark yum-yum Bailey

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Postby Perry » Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:46 am

Mark,

Congrats on your new GP rank. You've been a busy boy!
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Postby Bailey » Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:35 am

yeah, what is that? I gotta get over this pneumonia I'm sitting home wa-a-y too long.

mark feelin'-better Bailey

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Postby Perry » Tue Jan 02, 2007 1:17 pm

Bailey wrote:yeah, what is that? I gotta get over this pneumonia I'm sitting home wa-a-y too long.

mark feelin'-better Bailey


By GP, I mean that you are now a Grand Panjandrum.

I didn't know that you were under the weather. Make that pneumonia of yours so last year.
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Postby Bailey » Tue Jan 02, 2007 5:28 pm

Perry, I knew what the GP meant, I was thinking I must have waaaaay too much time on my hands, that is to say I knew you weren't being mean, so why I'm I so wordy? Did you know I'm not the talkative one in my family.

mark too-chatty Bailey

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Postby gailr » Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:27 pm

It takes dedication and discipline to reach Grand Panjandrumhood; to achieve it in less than one year, well, I doff my vulture cap to you, sir!
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Postby Bailey » Wed Jan 03, 2007 1:43 am

I'll tell you what it takes, it takes a bloody lot of sitting around with nothing more exciting to do than checking the Alpha all the time. It's time I've enjoyed, to be sure but my mind is wandering so much these days, but wait! I do get postcards on occasion.

Oh no, and there's 8 more today.

mark with-the-gamboling-mind Bailey

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Postby Perry » Wed Jan 03, 2007 10:01 am

Sounds like a good time to take up a musical instrument. But keep the posts coming as well.
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Postby skinem » Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:42 pm

Bailey, hope you get to feeling better soon and that it wasn't too serious. Too bad it wasn't the rockin' pneumonia!
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Postby Bailey » Wed Jan 03, 2007 5:50 pm

skinem wrote:Bailey, hope you get to feeling better soon and that it wasn't too serious. Too bad it wasn't the rockin' pneumonia!

or maybe the boogie woogie flu.

mark rockin'+rollin' Bailey

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