Oh, the things you learn

My family and I went to the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial this past weekend. I saw this sign.

grammar-scuttle

Seeing this sent me to the dictionary, which is always fun. The dictionary says that the word “scuttlebutt” came from “scuttled butt,” a cask or butt with an opening for a dipper. That crude device gave its name to the drinking fountain on a ship.

“Scuttle” has several definitions. It’s the name for the small, covered opening in a ship. It’s also the verb for making a hole or for scrapping a plan. It’s a verb that means to scurry away from danger or trouble.

While I was in the “scu-” section, I ran across “scut work,” tedious or menial jobs, and “scuzzy,” shabby or contemptible.

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.