There are 2 main definitions of scupper in English:

Share this entry

Share this page

scupper1

Syllabification: scup·per
Pronunciation: /ˈskəpər
 
/

noun

(usually scuppers)
1A hole in a ship’s side to carry water overboard from the deck.
Example sentences
  • Nylon panels on the sides of the Geckos eject water like scuppers on a tramp steamer - hop out of the river, take five steps, and the bilges are dry.
  • Fleets of great armed ships, loaded to the scuppers with silver and other treasures from the Viceroyalties of Peru and New Spain, were assembled and outfitted at Havana.
  • Franklin had noticed that the wake of one ship he saw was particularly smooth, and was told that the cooks had probably just discharged greasy water through the scuppers.
1.1An outlet in the side of a building for draining water.
Example sentences
  • The parapets were built with scuppers to remove the water from the roof, but when the scuppers become plugged, as they inevitably do, a dam is created that traps water on the roof.
  • Then a deluge, arches of water flowing from the scuppers, splashing onto the rocks, connecting the house with the earth.
  • We didn't want to run any downspouts, so we used scuppers instead, and put pavers in the earth where the rain would hit.

Origin

late Middle English: perhaps via Anglo-Norman French from Old French escopir 'to spit'; compare with German Speigatt, literally 'spit hole'.

More
  • This was first used as military slang in the sense ‘kill, especially in an ambush’. The origin is uncertain. It may be from scupper in the sense of the opening on a ship to allow water to drain, with the idea that a fallen sailor would roll into the scuppers, but since we do not know the origin of this word, we do not get much further. The sense ‘sink’ dates from the 1970s, perhaps through confusion with scuttle.

Words that rhyme with scupper

crupper, cuppa, supper, upper

Definition of scupper in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

There are 2 main definitions of scupper in English:

Share this entry

Share this page

scupper2

Syllabification: scup·per
Pronunciation: /ˈskəpər
 
/

verb

[with object] chiefly British
1Sink (a ship or its crew) deliberately.
Example sentences
  • Against extraordinary odds Davie and Alan fight their way out of their ship's cabin - and in a moment of desperation Alan recklessly scuppers the ship when he ignites a barrel of gunpowder in the hold.
Synonyms
sink, scuttle, submerge, send to the bottom
1.1 informal Prevent from working or succeeding; thwart: plans for a casino were scuppered by a public inquiry
More example sentences
  • Being a surgeon or concert pianist is an advantage here - the disc is naturally misshaped for use in the round CD-Rom drive, so half an inch either way scuppers the exercise.
  • If you're asking whether this scuppers the deal, the answer is absolutely not.
  • And a growing environmentalist movement in the country has already scuppered a leading mining project.
Synonyms
informal screw up, foul up, put the kibosh on

Origin

late 19th century (as military slang in the sense 'kill, especially in an ambush'): of unknown origin. The sense 'sink' dates from the 1970s.

More
  • This was first used as military slang in the sense ‘kill, especially in an ambush’. The origin is uncertain. It may be from scupper in the sense of the opening on a ship to allow water to drain, with the idea that a fallen sailor would roll into the scuppers, but since we do not know the origin of this word, we do not get much further. The sense ‘sink’ dates from the 1970s, perhaps through confusion with scuttle.

Definition of scupper in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.