verb (used with object), gut·ted, gut·ting.


  1. basic or essential: to discuss the gut issues.
  2. based on instincts or emotions: a gut reaction; gut decisions.


    spill one's guts, Slang. to tell all; lay oneself bare: the famous star spills his guts in his autobiography.

Origin of gut

before 1000; Middle English gut, guttes (plural), Old English guttas (plural), akin to gēotan to pour
Related formsgut·like, adjectiveun·gut·ted, adjective

Synonyms for gut

2b. pluck. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for guts

Contemporary Examples of guts

Historical Examples of guts

  • You let me hear of anybody else, and I'll cut the guts out of him!


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • I could hear the little motors in his guts humming with joy as he booked Alex.

    Arm of the Law

    Harry Harrison

  • One or the other of them would have to be left on the pavement, emptied of his guts like a rabbit.


    Emile Zola

  • I've got the guts, and I've got the money; and I don't sit still on it.

  • I got my 'ead chipped like a egg; I've got pneumonia too, an' my guts is all out o' order.

British Dictionary definitions for guts


n acronym for

grand unified theory



  1. the lower part of the alimentary canal; intestine
  2. the entire alimentary canalRelated adjective: visceral
(often plural) the bowels or entrails, esp of an animal
slang the belly; paunch
See catgut
a silky fibrous substance extracted from silkworms, used in the manufacture of fishing tackle
a narrow channel or passage
(plural) informal courage, willpower, or daring; forcefulness
(plural) informal the essential partthe guts of a problem
bust a gut informal to make an intense effort
have someone's guts for garters informal to be extremely angry with someone
hate a person's guts informal to dislike a person very strongly
sweat one's guts out or work one's guts out informal to work very hard

verb guts, gutting or gutted (tr)

to remove the entrails from (fish, etc)
(esp of fire) to destroy the inside of (a building)
to plunder; despoilthe raiders gutted the city
to take out the central points of (an article), esp in summary form


informal arising from or characterized by what is basic, essential, or naturala gut problem; a gut reaction
Derived Formsgutlike, adjective

Word Origin for gut

Old English gutt; related to gēotan to flow; see fusion
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 guts

"spirit, courage," 1893, figurative plural of gut (n.). The idea of the bowels as the seat of the spirit goes back to at least mid-14c.



Old English guttas (plural) "bowels, entrails," related to geotan "to pour," from PIE *gheu- "pour" (see found (v.2)). Related to Middle Dutch gote, Dutch goot, German Gosse "gutter, drain," Middle English gote "channel, stream." Meaning "abdomen, belly" is from c.1400. Meaning "easy college course" is student slang from 1916, probably from obsolete slang sense of "feast" (the connecting notion is "something that one can eat up"). Sense of "inside contents of anything" (usually plural) is from 1570s. To hate (someone's) guts is first attested 1918. The notion of the intestines as a seat of emotions is ancient (cf. bowel) and probably explains expressions such as gut reaction (1963), gut feeling (by 1970), and cf. guts. Gut check attested by 1976.



"to remove the guts of" (fish, etc.), late 14c., from gut (n.); figurative use by 1680s. Related: Gutted; gutting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for guts




The alimentary canal or a portion thereof, especially the intestine or stomach.
The embryonic digestive tube, consisting of the foregut, the midgut, and the hindgut.
guts The bowels; entrails; viscera.
A thin, tough cord made from the intestines of animals, usually sheep, used as suture material in surgery.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for guts



The intestine of a vertebrate animal.
The alimentary canal of an invertebrate animal.
The tube in a vertebrate embryo that later develops into the alimentary canal, lungs, and liver.


Abbreviation of grand unified theory See unified field theory.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with guts


In addition to the idiom beginning with gut

  • gut it out

also see:

  • bust a gut
  • hate someone's guts
  • have the guts
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.