1 A circular window cut in the side of a ship to admit light and air, also known in the Royal Navy as a sidelight and in the merchant service as a porthole or portlight. It consists of a circular metal frame with a thick disc of glass which is hinged on one side and which can be tightly secured to the ship's side from inside by butterfly nuts. A deadlight is the part of the scuttle which is let down and secured with a butterfly nut to protect the glass in heavy weather.
2 As a verb, it means the deliberate sinking of a ship by opening its seacocks or by blowing holes in its bottom. The origin of the word, as in the synonymous verb to scupper, presumably is to make the ship sink to the level of its scuttles at which point the sea will pour in through them and finish the job of sinking it.
3 A cask is said to be scuttled when its staves are stove in or broken.
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