One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A hole in a ship's side to carry water overboard from the deck.
- ‘Railings and scuppers were carved and painted with paints that had seen better days.’
- ‘Men around me were being sick and the scuppers were full of vomit.’
- ‘The scuppers, or the devices to allow the water to drain off the decks have been opened - they're normally in a closed position.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The master-at-arms or chief petty officer in charge would ceremonially tip this residue into the scuppers at the edge of the deck, from where, to the daily perplexity and annoyance of thirsty seamen, it would drain into the sea.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Firstly, one climbs into a jet crammed to the scuppers with domestic and foreign tourists, thence to fly more rapidly than Moses ever did across the desert.’
- ‘Trimmings - the rails, scuppers and waterline - were painted black, in counterpoint to the polished metal of brass fixtures.’
- 1.1 An outlet in the side of a building for draining water.
- ‘We didn't want to run any downspouts, so we used scuppers instead, and put pavers in the earth where the rain would hit.’
- ‘Then a deluge, arches of water flowing from the scuppers, splashing onto the rocks, connecting the house with the earth.’
- ‘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.’
Late Middle English: perhaps via Anglo-Norman French from Old French escopir ‘to spit’; compare with German Speigatt, literally ‘spit hole’.
1British Sink (a ship or its crew) deliberately.‘the ship was scuppered and seriously damaged’
sink, scuttle, submerge, send to the bottom, open the seacocks inView synonyms
- ‘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.’
2informal Prevent from working or succeeding; thwart.‘plans for a bypass were scuppered by a public inquiry’
ruin, wreck, destroy, devastate, wreak havoc on, damage, spoil, mar, injure, blast, blight, smash, shatter, dash, torpedo, scotch, mess upView synonyms
- ‘Perhaps they've just been scuppered by inexperience and the difficulties of the devised show.’
- ‘It should have been the perfect crowd-pleasing formula, but the album was scuppered by poor distribution, and its failure prompted the departure of the band's co-founder, Chris Bell.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘And a growing environmentalist movement in the country has already scuppered a leading mining project.’
- ‘If they don't, any chance of them achieving rock royalty status will be scuppered.’
- ‘Perhaps I should have piped up and suggested a digestion sabbatical before the final touch, which effectively scuppers any true criticism by being truly ambrosial.’
- ‘New broom stirs up dust; pupils gradually appreciate a teacher who makes them think outside the box; syllabus scuppered in favour of rejuvenating the imagination.’
- ‘Maybe instead it was a story about subconscious guilt - Hamlet realises the Hamlet family has done dirt to the Fortinbras clan, and inadvertently sabotages his own kinfolk and scuppers his inheritance.’
- ‘If you're asking whether this scuppers the deal, the answer is absolutely not.’
- ‘If the characters do not have backbone, articulacy and humour, then that pretty much scuppers high comedy.’
- ‘However, there are rumours that India will go ahead and sign the deal because it does not want to be the country that scuppers the talks.’
- ‘Rochefort was cast to play the lead, but his illness scuppered the picture.’
- ‘By taking it on, albeit reluctantly, he scuppers his girlfriend Samantha's plans to start a new life together in Las Vegas.’
- ‘And Andy Cole is on the verge of joining Manchester City, which scuppers any prospect of him returning to Ewood this summer.’
- ‘Fifteen years ago, Near Dark went largely unnoticed, its box-office chances scuppered by a release date too close to that of a more teen-friendly vampire flick, The Lost Boys.’
- ‘But the venue, which should be part of the appeal of this production by new, young, classical company Cannon's Mouth, scuppers it.’
- ‘The absence of the two captive witnesses has probably scuppered the entire case.’
- ‘Work began to come in: commissions for schools, offices and housing, as well as the inevitable promising projects scuppered by cautious planners.’
- ‘My dwarves have scuppered the concept by growing to well over six feet.’
- ‘His wilful jettisoning of anything approaching drama in the last act, though, scuppers the whole production.’
Late 19th century (as military slang in the sense ‘kill, especially in an ambush’): of unknown origin. The sense ‘sink’ dates from the 1970s.
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