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 In November 1918, San Francisco public health officials declared premature victory over the pandemic and residents tossed their masks in the gutter, only to watch the flu return the following year and kill nearly twice as many citizens. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 May 2021 Get to the top and start scooping out carcasses with a gutter scoop, along with any other debris, into the bucket. Felicity Warner, USA TODAY, 27 Apr. 2021 Thankfully, gutter clean-up shouldn’t be too much of a chore. Felicity Warner, USA TODAY, 27 Apr. 2021 Any container or object — toys, birdbaths, kiddie pools, flower pots, tire swings, gutter downspouts — that collects water needs to be dumped at least every five days, so mosquitoes have no breeding ground. Washington Post, 26 Apr. 2021 Discounts: The company offers discounts on home security products, window and gutter cleaning, and carpet, rug, tile, and upholstery cleaning. Better Homes & Gardens, 12 Mar. 2021 There's also been about $2,000 in roof work, then gutter repair and cleaning, plumbing, elevator maintenance and fixes, lighting, cleaning and building management as well as replacement of a number of doors. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, 11 July 2020 No, not that kind of gay stuff — get your head out of the gutter! Dalton Ross,, 5 Mar. 2021 The world is full of folk whose taste was educated in the gutter. John Kass,, 5 Mar. 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.

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

26 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gutter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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 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)


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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