• synonyms


  1. 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.
  2. goat's-rue.
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Origin of catgut

1590–1600; apparently cat + gut, though allusion is obscure
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for catgut

Historical Examples of catgut

  • I know that; but did not you hear Mrs. Catgut say it was fashionable?

    The Contrast

    Royall Tyler

  • A simple hygrometer can be made by a piece of catgut and a straw.

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

    Zoonomia, Vol. II

    Erasmus Darwin

  • 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

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

British Dictionary definitions for catgut


  1. 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 ligaturesOften shortened to: gut
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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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

catgut in Medicine


  1. A tough, thin cord made from the treated and stretched intestines of certain animals, especially sheep, and used for surgical ligatures.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.