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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With every passing day, the pace of vaccinations only seems to drag a little further toward the gutter. Daniel Engber, The Atlantic, 20 July 2021 Another time as her neighbors were installing gutter guards, Christensen stood in front of the neighbor's house and starred at them. Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, 28 May 2021 Staffers at the behavioral health treatment center confiscated the gutter pieces, which angered the 14-year-old. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, 27 May 2021 Its putrid gray color reminded me of stagnant gutter water. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, 10 May 2021 Outcasts from every subculture flocked to Gilman: Goths, gutter-punks, skaters, art students, anarchists — all rebels against the status quo. Aaron Carnes, Rolling Stone, 30 Apr. 2021 The gutter between two comic panels can indicate a jump to the same moment in the same spot, or a million light years away. Adam Rogers, Wired, 11 Feb. 2021 Now your career is in the gutter and several young men have had their lives and reputations destroyed. Erik Kain, Forbes, 26 June 2021 There would be a two-foot gutter, five-foot bike lane and 11-foot driving lane on the southbound side of the road. Eddie Morales, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 17 June 2021 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, 15 June 2020 Never mind the explicitness of that time’s memento mori, all the skulls and guttering candles. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 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, 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, 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, 29 Mar. 2018 The flame of Indian paleontology may be guttering, but a few recent developments have buoyed spirits. Sanjay Kumar, Science | AAAS, 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, 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, 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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Learn More About gutter

Time Traveler for gutter

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near gutter

guttée de sang


gutter away

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Statistics for gutter

Last Updated

25 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gutter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

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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 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)

More from Merriam-Webster on gutter

Nglish: Translation of gutter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gutter for Arabic Speakers


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