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<   No. 1529   2007-04-04   >

Comic #1529

1 Dirque: Arrr! The battle be over. Do we be scuttlin' 'er?
2 Long Tom: Aye! Scuttle 'er! Be sendin' 'er to the briny depths! That'll be teachin' Spanish merchants to be crossin' Cap'n Long Tom Short!
3 [sound]: Chop! Chop! Chop! {the crew chop into the bottom deck of the merchantman with axes}
4 Long Tom: {angrily} Be transferrin' the booty to our ship first!!

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All I want to say is that those are really big axes to be wielding one-handed.

2017-02-19 Rerun commentary: "Scuttle" is a cool verb. It's one of those verbs that you can only apply to one very specific type of subject, namely a ship. You can't scuttle a friend, or a nice meal, or your cat, or a telephone booth, or a sunrise. If you wanna do some scuttling, you gotta get yourself a ship.

Another cool related word, a noun this time, is scuttlebutt. Originally, this was a cask on a ship used to serve drinking water to the crew. But the crew used to hang around the water supply and exchange gossip, so the word "scuttlebutt" also came to refer in slang usage to gossip and rumour.

I propose that we all start using the word "scuttlebutt" to refer to the office water cooler from now on. Just drop it into casual conversation. "Hey Bill, I'm going to the scuttlebutt. Want me to refill your glass?"

EDIT: Okay, yes, there is another definition of the word "scuttle" as a verb. You can scuttle like a crab, meaning to move hastily, perhaps with limbs flying everywhere.

The difference is that scuttle as in scuttling a ship is a transitive verb, or one that requires an object noun, whereas scuttle as in scuttling like a crab is an intransitive noun, or one that has no object noun. If you scuttle a thing, then you are damaging that thing with intent to sink or disable it. If you just scuttle, then you are moving hastily.

So if you wanna do some scuttling, and you don't have a ship handy, you could actually just move hastily like a crab.

And for completeness... "scuttle" is itself also a noun too. A scuttle is a basket- or bucket- or cup-like carrying device, such as a coal scuttle or shaving scuttle. A scuttle can also be a hatch in a ship's deck or the roof of a building, the part of a car's bodywork between the windscreen and the bonnet (in British English), or a seagull from Disney's The Little Mermaid.

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