This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Spot the Frippet: scuttlebutt.

Here's a word to add a dash of delight to a Monday morning.


What's a scuttlebutt?

A scuttlebutt is a drinking fountain, although of course nowadays, with our finicky modern distaste for contracting lethal diseases, we tend to have water-coolers instead. Still, I don't see why a water cooler shouldn't be termed a scuttlebutt - in fact, if you think about it, a water cooler is a butt (well, it is in England, where a butt is primarily a barrel for storing rainwater).

If further argument is needed, a scuttlebutt started out in life as a cask of drinking water.

Most elegantly, the water cooler analogy goes even further. Scuttlebutt is (mainly US) slang for rumour or gossip. So water cooler gossip can, and this is glorious, be termed scuttlebutt scuttlebutt.

And, I mean, what more could anyone possibly ask for than that?

Spot the Frippet: scuttlebutt. This word comes from the Old English scutel, trencher, from the Latin scutella, bowl, and is related to the lovely Old High German word scuzzila.

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