[Ads-l] relation of scupper verb to scupper noun?

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sun May 8 19:09:08 UTC 2022

OED scupper, v. includes "Etymology: perhaps < scupper n.<https://www-oed-com.proxy.lib.duke.edu/view/Entry/173915#eid23860390>, but the connection of meaning is not clear.
a. transitive. To surprise and massacre. Military slang." Quotes from 1885.
Scupper, n. is a ship drain. Before 1885, many times many times: ship scuppers ran with blood, scuppers spouted blood, et sim. Even in Little Women: "lee-scuppers ran blood."

So, perhaps, scupper, v., originally did not men to send someone or something down the drain, but more specifically, to cause draining of blood.
For example: "...the tears ran down his withered and scuppered [[meaning bloodlessly pale?]] cheeks...."Double_Runner Club, 1881, p. 131, google books.

Stephen Goranson

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 a. transitive. To surprise and massacre. Military slang.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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