We love to watch the TV show The Office. I suppose we’ve seen every episode many times.
In one episode the character, Dwight, feels like he’s missing out on knowing what is happening in their office, so he moves the water cooler next to his desk. As people gather around it, he asks, “What’s the scuttlebutt?”
This got me thinking about that word. It’s a fun word. Scuttlebutt.
The history and meaning of the word are very interesting, and it dates back to the early 1800’s. According to the Navy Terminology, The origin of the word “scuttlebutt,” which is nautical parlance for a rumor, comes from a combination of “scuttle” — to make a hole in the ship’s hull and thereby causing her to sink — and “butt” — a cask or hogshead used in the days of wooden ships to hold drinking water. The cask from which the ship’s crew took their drinking water — like a water fountain — was the “scuttlebutt.” Even in today’s Navy a drinking fountain is referred to as such. But, since the crew used to congregate around the “scuttlebutt”, that is where the rumors about the ship or voyage would begin. Thus, then and now, rumors are talk from the “scuttlebutt” or just “scuttlebutt.”
So, at your office today, ask someone, “What’s the scuttlebutt?” It’ll be fun to watch their reaction!