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noun, plural gul·lies. Also gulley (for defs 1, 2).
  1. a small valley or ravine originally worn away by running water and serving as a drainageway after prolonged heavy rains.
  2. a ditch or gutter.
  3. Cricket.
    1. the position of a fielder between point and slips.
    2. the fielder occupying this position.
verb (used with object), gul·lied, gul·ly·ing.
  1. to make gullies in.
  2. to form (channels) by the action of water.

Origin of gully

1530–40; apparently variant of gullet, with -y replacing French -et

Synonyms for gully

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or gul·ley

[guhl-ee, goo l-ee]
noun, plural gul·lies. Scot. and North England.
  1. a knife, especially a large kitchen or butcher knife.

Origin of gully

First recorded in 1575–85; origin uncertain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for gully




noun plural -lies or -leys
  1. a channel or small valley, esp one cut by heavy rainwater
  2. NZ a small bush-clad valley
  3. a deep, wide fissure between two buttresses in a mountain face, sometimes containing a stream or scree
  4. cricket
    1. a fielding position between the slips and point
    2. a fielder in this position
  5. either of the two channels at the side of a tenpin bowling lane
verb -lies, -lying or -lied
  1. (tr) to make (channels) in (the ground, sand, etc)

Word Origin for gully

C16: from French goulet neck of a bottle; see gullet


noun plural -lies
  1. Scot a large knife, such as a butcher's knife

Word Origin for gully

C16: of obscure origin
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 gully

"channel made by running water," 1650s, possibly a variant of Middle English golet "water channel" (see gullet). Gully-washer, American English colloquial for "heavy rainstorm," attested by 1887.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

gully in Science


  1. A narrow, steep-sided channel formed in loose earth by running water. A gully is usually dry except after periods of heavy rainfall or after the melting of snow or ice.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.