Scupper Trout

Posted by Jim on February 20, 2002

In Reply to: Scupper Trout posted by Jim on February 20, 2002

: : : : : "He alleges that Microsoft scuppered a 1998 deal with Compaq to produce..."

: : : : : Anyone know what "scuppered" means?

: : : : I looked up scupper in an American dictionary where it explains that a scupper is a nautical term for the holes at the side of a ship that allow the water to run off.

: : : : I have also heard it used to describe destroying a ship - if not by sinking than grounding. "After passengers ceased to visit the aging steam boat, the owners scuppered it."

: : : : So in the sentence you gave, it means that Microsoft deliberately destroyed the deal with Compac. And as it happens, that's completely consistent with Microsoft.

: : : : I suspect the Brits will find this use of scuppered in their dictionaries and it will be in the OED of course.

: : : Scuppering is deliberate.

: : Camel is entirely right. To scupper is a nautical term meaning to sink a ship deliberately by opening the scuppers. To clarify Camel's run-off holes, scuppers are sealed hatches/holes below the waterline that can be opened to drain the bilges and/or lower decks if the ship is ever in dry dock. Sir Francis Drake famously sailed into Cadiz in the 16th century to scupper a large portion of the Spanish fleet, and many a brave captain has scuppered his own ship during wartime in order to prevent it falling into enemy hands - as happened with the French naval fleet at Toulon at the beginning of the 2nd World War.

: : A strangely similar word also used to describe the deliberate sinking of a ship is "to scuttle". I have no idea if this is just coincidence.

: : As for Microsoft deliberately getting up to some corporate naughtiness, who'da thunk it from the oh so whiter than white Church of St. Bill of Seattle?

: I've read that the plumbing aboard navy ships sometimes regurgitate unsavory items from shower drains. These items are affectionately nicknamed scupper trout.

"Harper's", February, 1999 nonfiction/pilotstale.html