Here is a context clues worksheet on the noun scuttlebutt. The context provides support for inferring the simplest vernacular meaning of this word, i.e. “rumor” and “gossip.” (But did you know it also means “a cask on shipboard to contain freshwater for a day’s use” and “a drinking fountain on a ship or at a naval or marine installation”? I didn’t.)
This is too slangy a noun, I submit, for use in academic prose–though it would make for some snappy dialogue in, say, something along the lines of a Damon Runyon story. I’m not sure how I ended up with this other than it must of been the Word of the Day on Merriam-Webster at some point.
If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.