gut·​ter | \ ˈgə-tər How to pronounce gutter (audio) \

Definition of gutter

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a trough along the eaves to catch and carry off rainwater
b : a low area (as at the edge of a street) to carry off surface water (as to a sewer)
c : a trough or groove to catch and direct something the gutters of a bowling alley
2 : a white space formed by the adjoining inside margins of two facing pages (as of a book)
3 : the lowest or most vulgar level or condition of human life


guttered; guttering; gutters

Definition of gutter (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to cut or wear gutters in
2 : to provide with a gutter

intransitive verb

1a : to flow in rivulets
b of a candle : to melt away through a channel out of the side of the cup hollowed out by the burning wick
2 : to incline downward in a draft the candle flame guttering



Definition of gutter (Entry 3 of 3)

: of, relating to, or characteristic of the gutter especially : marked by extreme vulgarity, cheapness, or indecency gutter politics

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of gutter in a Sentence

Noun one of his chores is to clean leaves and sticks out of the gutters before winter sets in rainwater running off the road into the gutters Adjective a novel that does a good job of rendering the gutter language of that stratum of society
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Residents shouldn’t push leaves or other lawn waste into the gutter. Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, "As fall sweeping begins, St. Paul, Minneapolis work harder to get cars off street," 18 Oct. 2020 While there are a multitude of gutter systems and materials available — like open face versions, or ones with screens, mesh toppers, and hoods — Good Housekeeping recommends the ones from LeafGuard, a 15-year GH Seal Holder. Jessica Dailey, Good Housekeeping, "7 Ways to Prevent Water Damage At Home," 14 Oct. 2020 Hill says De Niro shot some gutter scenes, splitting duties with a stuntman. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "Snakes, shaves, dodgeball battles: Robert De Niro endures his greatest film blows in 'War With Grandpa'," 9 Oct. 2020 Your goal is to keep water onsite and keep it out of the gutter. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "October chores for home gardeners," 3 Oct. 2020 For the most part, Trump seemed bent on pulling Biden into the gutter with him. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "What a Mess!," 29 Sep. 2020 Figure out a way to keep water from flowing there, such as by extending gutter downspouts or by building a swale that diverts surface flow. Washington Post, "My basement window well keeps filling with water. What can I do?," 28 Sep. 2020 After five years in the gutter, the 2018 Nets were hardly appealing to free agents. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Are Phoenix Suns an ideal 2021 free-agent destination for Giannis Antetokounmpo?," 11 Sep. 2020 Republican candidate Ryan Gardner, who owns a gutter and sheet metal construction business, has raised $700 but does not appear to be actively campaigning. oregonlive, "Third party candidate Ashton Simpson challenges Democratic Rep. Diego Hernandez, amid Capitol harassment inquiry," 16 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Crews will be setting catch basins to grade, forming up curb and gutter cutout areas, and beginning to form up driveway aprons. Linda Gandee, cleveland, "North Ridgeville postpones holiday fireworks," 15 June 2020 Never mind the explicitness of that time’s memento mori, all the skulls and guttering candles. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "Mortality and the Old Masters," 6 Apr. 2020 That might be a backhanded way of saying the Portofino is still wonderful—a four-wheeled panther, purring, prowling and guttering in the streets. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2020 Ferrari Portofino: An Everyday Supercar for the Very Wealthy," 23 Jan. 2020 The four of them are watching me, their faces, lit by the moon and the guttering candles on the table, concerned. Longreads, "Jersey Girl," 2 Jan. 2020 The cities can dictate whether or not it's curbed and guttered, concrete, setback limitations, the house size, the lot size and a number of other restrictions. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Commissioners yield to Dayton for stricter subdivision rules," 29 Mar. 2018 The flame of Indian paleontology may be guttering, but a few recent developments have buoyed spirits. Sanjay Kumar, Science | AAAS, "India’s paleontologists fight destruction of its fossil riches," 4 Apr. 2018 Is the spirit of man extinguished at death like a candle guttered by a passing wind? Pioneer Press Editorial Board, Twin Cities, "An Easter homily," 16 Apr. 2017 That sum would pay partially for street repaving, major bridge rehabilitation, and curb and gutter rehabilitation — all part of the Department of Public Works’ nearly $227 million bond request for deferred maintenance. Jon Murray, The Denver Post, "Backlog of repairs may weigh down Denver’s fall bond measures, pushing out new projects," 15 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gutter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of gutter


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gutter


Middle English goter, from Anglo-French gutere, goter, from gute drop, from Latin gutta

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gutter

Time Traveler for gutter

Time Traveler

The first known use of gutter was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for gutter

Last Updated

28 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gutter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gutter


How to pronounce gutter (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gutter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long, hollow device that is attached to the edges of a roof to catch rain and carry it away from a building
: a low area at the side of a road that is used to catch water and carry it away from the road
: a long, narrow low section along the sides of a bowling lane



English Language Learners Definition of gutter (Entry 2 of 2)

: of the worst kind : offensive or immoral


gut·​ter | \ ˈgə-tər How to pronounce gutter (audio) \

Kids Definition of gutter

1 : a trough along the eaves of a house to catch and carry off water
2 : a low area (as at the side of a road) to carry off surface water


gut·​ter | \ ˈgət-ər How to pronounce gutter (audio) \

Medical Definition of gutter

: a depressed furrow between body parts (as on the surface between a pair of adjacent ribs or in the dorsal wall of the body cavity on either side of the spinal column)

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on gutter

What made you want to look up gutter? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!