scupper \SKUHP-er, verb:
1. Informal. to prevent from happening or succeeding; ruin; wreck.
2. Military. to overwhelm; surprise and destroy, disable, or massacre.
But what if Ira had tried to back out, threatening to scupper the entire thing?
— Mark Zuehlke, Hands Like Clouds, 2000
Last summer, Edward DeMarco, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s regulator, scuppered the White House’s plan to write down principal for half a million homeowners who’d fallen behind on payments, listing among his reasons that it would encourage others to stop paying.
— Tad Friend, “Home Economics,” The New Yorker, Feb. 4, 2013
Scupper first entered English as a nautical noun in the late 1400s. The verb senses did not enter English until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.