The last scupper?

April 19, 2010

Volcanic ash cloud may scupper Polish funeral plan

CYPRUS-ELECTION/The title reads “Volcanic ash cloud may scupper Polish funeral plan” and I am wondering if this should not be “Volcanic ash cloud may scuttle Polish funeral plan” instead.

Russian Jack

No, scupper was the right word, but for the wrong audience.

In British English it means to prevent from happening or succeeding. It doesn’t mean that to most speakers of American English, and thus should be avoided, especially in headlines: GBU Editor

Turkish Cypriot leader and presidential candidate Mehmet Ali Talat (C) and his wife Oya Talat (R) pose with a girl during an election rally in Nicosia, in the Turkish-administered northern part of Cyprus, April 16, 2010. Turkish Cypriots vote in an election on Sunday that diplomats fear could scupper chances of a peace deal on the ethnically-split island and further hamper Turkey’s chances of joining the European Union. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

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