Aren’t words fascinating? “Scuttlebutt” is a word that I’ve heard used for years, but never knew how it originated.

scuttlebutt SKUHT-l-buht, noun:

1. A drinking fountain on a ship.
2. A cask on a ship that contains the day’s supply of drinking water.
3. Informal. Gossip; rumor.

Scuttlebutt comes from scuttle, “a small opening” + butt, “a large cask” — that is, a small hole cut into a cask or barrel to allow individual cups of water to be drawn out. The modern equivalent is the office water cooler, also a source of refreshment and gossip.

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