gut·ter | \ˈgə-tər \

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

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Examples of gutter in a Sentence


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


a novel that does a good job of rendering the gutter language of that stratum of society
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Through Blue Island and Dixmoor, the county is rehabbing 139th Street between Western Avenue and Thornton Road, with work including replacement of curbs and gutters. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "Road projects on tap for summer in several south, southwest suburbs," 26 May 2018 Some have family members who are near but who don’t make the time to share a meal once a week or check the gutters. Marni Jameson,, "Readers identify with elderly woman's reluctance to downsize," 2 May 2018 Tolerant of a wide variety of soils, Carolina Jessamine will require a bit of taming to keep it from consuming the garden fence, or clambering up the gutter. Molly Marquand, Good Housekeeping, "15 Native Wildflowers Every Gardener Should Plant," 5 May 2017 Outdoors, each rain gutter downspout is connected to one or more 55-gallon rain barrels with covers that also prevents mosquito breeding. Dawn Standke,, "Tally up your garden’s earth friendliness," 12 July 2018 Creating defensible spaces includes things like removing all dead vegetation from the area, along with dead or dry leaves and pine needles from from your yard, roof and rain gutters. Cassie Dickman, sacbee, "Fire season is here. State officials ask: Are you ready?," 9 June 2018 The bullet penetrated the front door, glass storm door, and a downspout gutter that Sgt. Jerry Fallstrom,, "Clermont police sergeant who missed bullet 'by inches' honored for valor, heroism," 7 June 2018 Beyond the confines of Hollywood, apologizing is a fact of life—even though the process can sometimes be about as enjoyable as having a root canal or cleaning leaves out of rain gutters. Susan Fales-hill, Town & Country, "How to Say You're Sorry (And Sound Like You Mean It)," 3 Apr. 2017 If the City Council establishes a district, the agency could spend new property tax revenue caused by growth to clean up contamination and add infrastructure like sidewalks, curbs and gutters. Sven Berg, idahostatesman, "A 60-year-old fuel terminal could leave Boise’s Bench. Here’s what could replace it.," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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.

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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

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Phrases Related to gutter

gutter press

the gutter

Statistics for gutter

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gutter

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

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More Definitions for gutter



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 \

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 \

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)

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Comments on gutter

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