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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for gutter

Synonyms: Noun

dike, ditch, fosse (or foss), sheugh [chiefly Scottish], trench, trough

Synonyms: Adjective

bawdy, blue, coarse, crude, dirty, filthy, foul, gross, impure, indecent, lascivious, lewd, locker-room, nasty, obscene, pornographic, porny, profane, raunchy, ribald, smutty, stag, trashy, unprintable, vulgar, wanton, X-rated

Antonyms: Adjective

clean, decent, G-rated, nonobscene, wholesome

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The street also will get benches, trash cans, decorative street lights, trees (on the east side), curbs, gutters, a resurfacing, new striping and 12 parking spaces. David Ibata, ajc, "Woodstock downtown street work starts July 9," 25 June 2018 The capital improvement program is funding $3.9 million for streets, curbs and gutter upgrades and other infrastructure projects. Jess Nocera, Laurel Leader, "Laurel Council approved a $34.2 million budget in May," 14 June 2018 Most of the heavy-metal-laden spillage went into the driveway, and thence into the gutter and storm drains. Mike Allen, Popular Mechanics, "How to Dispose of Hazardous Waste Without Damaging the Environment," 9 Oct. 2018 The approximately 30,000-square-foot main house, completed in 2004, has zinc gutters and a slate roof. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "Washington Redskins Owner Asks $49 Million for Maryland Mansion," 4 Oct. 2018 Alex Salmond is abusing his power, and dragging Scotland into the gutter. Chris Irvine, Fox News, "Ex Scotland leader resigns from party amid sexual harassment allegations," 30 Aug. 2018 Now, Observer is reporting that Yiannopoulos’ descent into the political gutter continues apace. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Milo Yiannopoulos wants “vigilante squads” to start shooting journalists.," 26 June 2018 Heavy rain deluged much of Massachusetts on Thursday morning, soaking pedestrians, overflowing gutters, and forcing road closures., "We can’t afford to replace empathy with apathy," 28 June 2018 Things like roofs, vents, rain gutters, windows, garages, patio covers, eaves and soffits, walls, fences and chimneys should be assessed. Cassie Dickman, sacbee, "Fire season is here. State officials ask: Are you ready?," 9 June 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.

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

Statistics for gutter

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gutter

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on gutter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gutter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gutter

Spanish Central: Translation of gutter

Nglish: Translation of gutter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gutter for Arabic Speakers

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).


to enclose within walls

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!