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[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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for guttersnipe
Historical Examples
  • He aimed a blow at the guttersnipe's head, but missed it and fell full length.

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

    Grey Town Gerald Baldwin
  • In one way or the other, the guttersnipe must have his proper prominence.

  • The Humanitarian Hero had not come into fashion—nor yet the guttersnipe.

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

    General Bramble Andr Maurois
  • His studies of the London “guttersnipe” and the coster-girl rapidly made him famous.

  • 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
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
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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
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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.
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