Try Our Apps


The saddest words


[guht-er-snahyp] /ˈgʌt ərˌsnaɪp/
a person belonging to or characteristic of the lowest social group in a city.
a street urchin.
Origin of guttersnipe
First recorded in 1855-60; gutter + snipe
Related forms
guttersnipish, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for guttersnipe
Historical Examples
  • What would the guttersnipe have learnt as a graduate, except to embrace a Saxon because he was the other half of an Anglo-Saxon?

    A Short History of England G. K. Chesterton
  • In one way or the other, the guttersnipe must have his proper prominence.

  • But—who in all his life ever before saw a guttersnipe with eyes so lacking in cunning and roguery?

    The Rich Little Poor Boy Eleanor Gates
  • The Humanitarian Hero had not come into fashion—nor yet the guttersnipe.

  • But I have been taking lessons from every guttersnipe and old good-for-nought in the town.

    Grey Town Gerald Baldwin
  • His studies of the London “guttersnipe” and the coster-girl rapidly made him famous.

  • Dick, an Abbeville guttersnipe, was therefore admitted to the refinements of the general's table.

    General Bramble Andr Maurois
  • He aimed a blow at the guttersnipe's head, but missed it and fell full length.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
British Dictionary definitions for guttersnipe


a child who spends most of his time in the streets, esp in a slum area
a person regarded as having the behaviour, morals, etc, of one brought up in squalor
Derived Forms
guttersnipish, adjective
Word Origin
C19: originally a name applied to the common snipe (the bird), then to a person who gathered refuse from gutters in city streets
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for guttersnipe

also gutter-snipe, 1857, from gutter (n.) + snipe (n.); originally Wall Street slang for "streetcorner broker," attested later (1869) as "street urchin," also "one who gathers rags and paper from gutters." As a name for the common snipe, it dates from 1874 but is perhaps earlier.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for guttersnipe



A vulgar person; a vile wretch

[1869+; in the sense ''a curbside stock broker'' found by 1856]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for guttersnipe

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for guttersnipe

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for guttersnipe