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noun (1)

gul·​ly ˈgu̇-lē How to pronounce gully (audio) ˈgə- How to pronounce gully (audio)
plural gullies
dialectal British
: a large knife


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noun (2)

gul·​ly ˈgə-lē How to pronounce gully (audio)
variants or less commonly gulley
plural gullies
: a trench which was originally worn in the earth by running water and through which water often runs after rains
: a small valley or gulch


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gul·​ly ˈgə-lē How to pronounce gully (audio)
gullied; gullying

transitive verb

: to make gullies in

intransitive verb

: to undergo erosion : form gullies

Examples of gully in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Over the next three hours, rescuers worked to warm up the hiker before setting off on down the steep gully. Stephen Sorace, Fox News, 12 Nov. 2023 Records of comings and goings from the park were examined, and all around it, teams conducted grid searches through gullies and deep brush, and under yellowing trees. Jesse McKinley, New York Times, 4 Oct. 2023 These scenic paths capitalize on natural landscape contours, using sweeping switchbacks to ease climbs and tight hairpin turns to propel trail users around ravines and gullies. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 8 Sep. 2023 In August, 21-year-old Jadyn Weiss fell 300 feet to her death while descending a steep mountain gully known as the Flying Dutchman couloir. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 2 Oct. 2023 Aerial and satellite imagery reviewed by the AP show the gully has long been choked with thick grass, shrubs, small trees, and trash, which a severe summer drought turned into tinder-dry fuel for fires. Michael Biesecker, Jennifer McDermott, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 Sep. 2023 These truly immense flows traveled more than 60 miles from their origin, carving out gullies as tall as skyscrapers. Rahul Rao, Popular Science, 7 Sep. 2023 As Tropical Storm Hilary bore down, torrents of water rushed through Death Valley National Park, forging new gullies, displacing heavy rocks and undercutting roadways, including State Route 190, one of the park’s main thoroughfares. Elvia Limón, Los Angeles Times, 5 Sep. 2023 The Red Planet’s surface is awash with deltas, gullies and sedimentary deposits that indicate water once flowed to sculpt such geological features. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gully.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

short for English dialect gully knife

Noun (2)

obsolete English gully gullet, probably alteration of Middle English golet ravine, throat

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1582, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1637, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1754, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of gully was in 1582

Dictionary Entries Near gully

Cite this Entry

“Gully.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural gullies
: a trench worn in the earth by running water after rains
gully verb

More from Merriam-Webster on gully

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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