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[kat-guht] /ˈkætˌgʌt/
a strong cord made by twisting the dried intestines of animals, as sheep, used in stringing musical instruments and tennis rackets, for surgical sutures, etc.
Origin of catgut
1590-1600; apparently cat + gut, though allusion is obscure Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for catgut
Historical Examples
  • Simultaneously, the jockeys sat down to ridethere was the cruel swish of catgut, the crueler prodding of steel.

  • The perpetual use of bougies, either of catgut or of caoutchouc.

    Zoonomia, Vol. II Erasmus Darwin
  • Each muscle I sutured by itself with catgut, making a separate series of continuous suturing of the fascia lata and skin.

    Mortmain Arthur Cheny Train
  • I know that; but did not you hear Mrs. catgut say it was fashionable?

    The Contrast Royall Tyler
  • Her nerves felt drawn to a tension that threatened to snap them like catgut drawn too tightly on a violin.

    The Lone Ranger Rides Fran Striker
  • The other end of the catgut is fixed to the peg which fits in the hole in the roof.

    Toy-Making at Home Morley Adams
  • This wound may be brought together by catgut sutures, or may be allowed to heal by granulation.

  • Then he bound her with the catgut, so that she was not able by any means to unloose herself.

  • Wound infection may take place from catgut which has not been efficiently prepared.

    Manual of Surgery Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles
  • Like the viola da gamba, it has six strings and catgut frets.

British Dictionary definitions for catgut


a strong cord made from the dried intestines of sheep and other animals that is used for stringing certain musical instruments and sports rackets, and, when sterilized, as surgical ligatures Often shortened to gut
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for catgut

1590s, altered from kitgut, probably from obsolete kit (n.2) "fiddle" + gut (n.). It was made from the intestines of sheep.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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catgut in Medicine

catgut cat·gut (kāt'gŭt')
A tough, thin cord made from the treated and stretched intestines of certain animals, especially sheep, and used for surgical ligatures.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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