scuttle (n.)

Middle English scutel "dish; basket, winnowing basket," from late Old English scutel "broad, shallow dish; platter," from Latin scutella "serving platter" (source also of Old French escuelle, Modern French écuelle, Spanish escudilla, Italian scudella "a plate, bowl"), diminutive of scutra "flat tray, dish," which is perhaps related to scutum "shield" (see escutcheon).

A common Germanic borrowing from Latin (Old Norse skutill, Middle Dutch schotel, Old High German scuzzila, German Schüssel "a dish"). The meaning "basket for sifting grain" is attested from mid-14c.; the sense of "deep, sheet-metal bucket for holding small amounts of coal" is by 1849, short for coal-scuttle. An Arnaldus Scutelmuth turns up in a roll from 1275.

scuttle (v.1)

"run hurriedly, scamper, scurry," mid-15c. (implied in scuttling), probably related to or a frequentative form of scud (v.). Also compare scut (n.1). Related: Scuttled.

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
[T.S. Eliot, from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"]

As a noun, "a short, hurried run," by 1620s.

scuttle (v.2)

"cut a hole in the bottom or sides of a ship," especially to sink it, 1640s, from skottell (n.) "small, square hatchway or opening in a ship's deck" (late 15c.), from French escoutille (Modern French écoutille) or directly from Spanish escotilla "hatchway," diminutive of escota "opening in a garment," from escotar "cut (clothes to fit), cut out." This is perhaps from e- "out" (see ex-) + a word borrowed from a Germanic language (ultimately from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut"). Figurative sense of "deliberately sink or destroy one's own effort or project" is by 1888. Related: Scuttled; scuttling.

updated on March 09, 2022

Definitions of scuttle from WordNet
scuttle (n.)
container for coal; shaped to permit pouring the coal onto the fire;
Synonyms: coal scuttle
scuttle (n.)
an entrance equipped with a hatch; especially a passageway between decks of a ship;
Synonyms: hatchway / opening
scuttle (v.)
to move about or proceed hurriedly;
Synonyms: scurry / scamper / skitter
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