the milky juice, nearly white when pure, of various Malaysian trees of the sapodilla family, especially Palaquium gutta.
the tough, rubberlike gum made from this and used as a dental cement, in the manufacture of golf balls, for insulating electric wires, etc.

Origin of gutta-percha

1835–45; < Malay gətah (spelling getah) tree sap + perca rag, strip of cloth; perhaps so called from the appearance of the sap (Malay getah taban) in its marketed form Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gutta-percha

Historical Examples of gutta-percha

  • It was simply a copper wire coated with gutta-percha, without any other protection.

  • The old cable had but three coatings of gutta-percha, with nothing between.

  • But when he cut into it at home it tasted like sawdust and gutta-percha.


    Edna Ferber

  • In Borneo ten trees were felled for every kilogramme of gutta-percha.

    From Pole to Pole

    Sven Anders Hedin

  • I have suggested making a gutta-percha dummy to be the first arrival!

British Dictionary definitions for gutta-percha



any of several tropical trees of the sapotaceous genera Palaquium and Payena, esp Palaquium gutta
a whitish rubber substance derived from the coagulated milky latex of any of these trees: used in electrical insulation and dentistry

Word Origin for gutta-percha

C19: from Malay getah gum + percha name of a tree that produces it
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 gutta-percha

1845, from Malay getah percha, literally "the gum of percha," the name of the tree; the form of the word influenced by Latin gutta "drop." As the name of the tree itself, from 1860.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

gutta-percha in Medicine




A rubbery substance from the latex of any of several tropical trees, used as a temporary filling material in dentistry and in the manufacture of orthopedic splints.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.