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[guht-er] /ˈgʌt ər/
a channel at the side or in the middle of a road or street, for leading off surface water.
a channel at the eaves or on the roof of a building, for carrying off rain water.
any channel, trough, or the like for carrying off fluid.
a furrow or channel made by running water.
Bowling. a sunken channel on each side of the alley from the line marking the limit of a fair delivery of the ball to the sunken area behind the pins.
the state or abode of those who live in degradation, squalor, etc.:
the language of the gutter.
the white space formed by the inner margins of two facing pages in a bound book, magazine, or newspaper.
verb (used without object)
to flow in streams.
(of a candle) to lose molten wax accumulated in a hollow space around the wick.
(of a lamp or candle flame) to burn low or to be blown so as to be nearly extinguished.
to form gutters, as water does.
verb (used with object)
to make gutters in; channel.
to furnish with a gutter or gutters:
to gutter a new house.
Origin of gutter
1250-1300; Middle English gutter, goter < Anglo-French goutiere, equivalent to goutte drop (see gout) + -iere, feminine of -ier -er2
Related forms
gutterlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gutter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the original, they were printed in the gutter, between the two versions.

  • Coleridge speaks of it in his letters as "the dear gutter of Stowey."

    Days Off Henry Van Dyke
  • The swarms of children were of the gutter, shoeless, tattered, and filthy.

    The Man with the Book John Matthias Weylland
  • The concrete curb and gutter was built in a trench as shown in the cut.

    Concrete Construction Halbert P. Gillette
  • Do you suppose that I do not understand my own business—I who took him up out of the gutter and taught him?

    Catharine Furze Mark Rutherford
British Dictionary definitions for gutter


a channel along the eaves or on the roof of a building, used to collect and carry away rainwater
a channel running along the kerb or the centre of a road to collect and carry away rainwater
a trench running beside a canal lined with clay puddle
either of the two channels running parallel to a tenpin bowling lane
  1. the space between two pages in a forme
  2. the white space between the facing pages of an open book
  3. the space between two columns of type
the space left between stamps on a sheet in order to separate them
(surfing) a dangerous deep channel formed by currents and waves
(Austral) (in gold-mining) the channel of a former watercourse that is now a vein of gold
the gutter, a poverty-stricken, degraded, or criminal environment
(transitive) to make gutters in
(intransitive) to flow in a stream or rivulet
(intransitive) (of a candle) to melt away by the wax forming channels and running down in drops
(intransitive) (of a flame) to flicker and be about to go out
Derived Forms
gutter-like, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Anglo-French goutiere, from Old French goute a drop, from Latin gutta
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 gutter

late 13c., "watercourse, water drainage channel along the side of a street," from Anglo-Norman gotere, from Old French guitere, goutiere (13c., Modern French gouttière) "gutter, spout" (of water), from goute "a drop," from Latin gutta "a drop." Meaning "furrow made by running water" is from 1580s. Meaning "trough under the eaves of a roof to carry off rainwater" is from mid-14c. Figurative sense of "low, profane" is from 1818. In printers' slang, from 1841.


late 14c., "to make or run in channels," from gutter (n.). In reference to candles (1706) it is from the channel that forms on the side as the molten wax flows off. Related: Guttered; guttering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for gutter



A dive in which one lands flat on the water; belly-whopper (1950s+)

Related Terms

have one's mind in the gutter

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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gutter in the Bible

Heb. tsinnor, (2 Sam. 5:8). This Hebrew word occurs only elsewhere in Ps. 42:7 in the plural, where it is rendered "waterspouts." It denotes some passage through which water passed; a water-course. In Gen. 30:38, 41 the Hebrew word rendered "gutters" is _rahat_, and denotes vessels overflowing with water for cattle (Ex. 2:16); drinking-troughs.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with gutter


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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