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 But a stretch of warm weather makes for a good excuse to clean those gutters, rake your yard or sweep the patio. oregonlive, "Portland might hit 70 degrees this week. Here’s how to enjoy the warm weather — safely and responsibly.," 6 Apr. 2020 To control the population, city crews started putting bait in the gutters and placing rat traps throughout the French Quarter neighborhood. CBS News, "Rats swarm New Orleans' streets as coronavirus precautions leave them empty," 28 Mar. 2020 Ease of Installation Installation was made tough by the curves of our van’s roof and the way the fiberglass topper encroaches into the rain gutter. Drew Zieff, Outside Online, "11 Things to Take Your Van from Dirtbag to Dream Home," 16 Jan. 2020 That morning, the wind roared outside, loud as ocean surf; the branches of the poplar tree in front of our house thrashed; leaves and twigs drifted ankle deep into the gutters; and the air smelled like smoke. Vanessa Hua,, "Power shut-offs: Anxiety creeps in when lights go out," 31 Oct. 2019 True inclusion is bringing the LGBTQ down into the gutter with us. Derek Lawrence,, "The gang makes history: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia cast on their record-tying run," 23 Sep. 2019 An eight-foot Fiamma F-45 awning—an industry standard with an integrated gutter to keep rain from running down into the hatch. Chris Dixon, Outside Online, "We're Dying to Get Mercedes-Benz's Metris Weekender Van," 6 Feb. 2020 Ricardo Cardoso Neves, a University of Copenhagen biologist, and his collaborators collected a species from gutters in Denmark and brought them into the lab. Matt Simon, Wired, "Even Ultra-Tough Water Bears May Be Vulnerable to Climate Change," 16 Jan. 2020 Some residents complained that the concrete intersection with curbs, gutters and sidewalks erases some of the area’s rural charm, which includes dirt shoulders. Tony Bizjak, sacbee, "Traffic roundabouts once drew skepticism. Now Caltrans is among their biggest fans," 17 Jan. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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.

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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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Time Traveler for gutter

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for gutter

Last Updated

7 May 2020

Cite this Entry

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

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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)

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More from Merriam-Webster on gutter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gutter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gutter

Spanish Central: Translation of gutter

Nglish: Translation of gutter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gutter for Arabic Speakers

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