What is Scuttlebutt?

Scuttlebutt: scut·tle·butt (sk t l-b t ). n. 1. Slang Gossip; rumor. 2. Nautical. a. A drinking fountain on a ship. b. A cask on a ship used to hold the day's supply of drinking water.

Drinking water on a sailing ship was stored in a scuttled butt: A cask, known as a butt, was scuttled by making a hole in it to withdraw the water. Sailors exchanged gossip while gathered for a drink around the scuttlebutt, thereby creating the Navy slang for gossip or rumours. The term corresponds to the current concept of an office water cooler setting, which at times becomes the center for casual discussion.