Monday, January 19, 2004

Word Of The Day
From Merriam-Webster OnLine

The Word of the Day for January 19 is:

scupper • \SKUP-er\ • verb
British : to defeat or put an end to : do in

Example sentence:
"In the Netherlands two years ago, schemes to introduce toll booths around Amsterdam . . . were eventually scuppered by a campaign led by the leading Dutch drivers' organisation." (Prospect, March 2003)

Did you know?
All efforts to figure out where this verb came from have been defeated, including attempts to connect it to the noun "scupper," a 500-year-old word for a drain opening in the side of a ship. (The main conjecture, largely unfounded, is that a ship is "scuppered" when its scuppers are submerged . . . in other words, when it is sinking or "done in.") All we know for sure is that "scupper" meant "to ambush and massacre" in 19th-century military slang. Then, just before the century turned, it found its place in a magazine story in the sense of simply "doing (someone) in." The more common modern application to things rather than people being done in or defeated didn’t appear until a couple of decades into the 20th century.

Now, go out and use that word today... it will be worth it to see the look on people's faces when they hear it.

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