• Rumor; gossip.

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Example Sentences

“Tell me everything; fill me in on the latest scuttlebutt.”

“The scuttlebutt has it that Elaine found a new job in Arizona.”

“I’m sure we’ll hear all the scuttlebutt about the wedding at the after-party.”

Word Origin

North American English, early 19th century

Why this word?

Sailors coined the most amusing words. On a 19th-century ship, a butt was a cask of drinking water, and a scuttle was the hole made for drinking. Thus, the sailors would gather at the scuttlebutt for a bit of chitchat in what was essentially the maritime equivalent of gathering by the office watercooler. Voilà! The term “scuttlebutt,” meaning “gossip,” was born. Fittingly, in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” “Scuttle” is the name of the seagull who fills Ariel in on gossip from the human world and makes misguided attempts to teach her about various human-made objects. In the 2023 live-action remake, Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda teamed up to write a rap called “The Scuttlebutt,” in which Scuttle (Awkwafina) and Sebastian (Daveed Diggs) deliver the news of Prince Eric’s engagement to the sea witch Ursula.

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