gut·​ter·​snipe | \ ˈgə-tər-ˌsnīp How to pronounce guttersnipe (audio) \

Definition of guttersnipe

1 : a homeless vagabond and especially an outcast boy or girl in the streets of a city
2 : a person of the lowest moral or economic station

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Other Words from guttersnipe

guttersnipish \ ˈgə-​tər-​ˌsnī-​pish How to pronounce guttersnipe (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

Unfurl yourselves under my banner, noble savages, illustrious guttersnipes, wrote Mark Twain sometime around 1869. Twain was among the first writers to use guttersnipe for a young hoodlum or street urchin. In doing so, he was following a trend among writers of the time to associate gutter (a low area at the side of a road) with a low station in life. Other writers in the late 19th century used guttersnipe more literally as a name for certain kinds of snipes, or birds with long thin beaks that live in wet areas. Gutter-bird was another term that was used at that time for both birds and disreputable persons. And even snipe itself has a history as a term of opprobrium; it was used as such during Shakespeare’s day.

Examples of guttersnipe in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The guttersnipes have outfoxed the plutocrats, for once. Kyle Smith, National Review, "An Intriguing Class-War Comedy," 3 Oct. 2019 They are barred from using certain language during debates including git, guttersnipe, swine and stool pigeon. Max Colchester, WSJ, "Rule Book from 1844 Becomes a Must-Read in Brexit Debate," 3 Jan. 2019 From the massive success of post-grunge rockers Stone Temple Pilots to commercial guttersnipe supergroup Velvet Revolver, singer Scott Weiland's expansive talent cast a long shadow. Katherine Turman, Esquire, "Scott Weiland's 10 Favorite Bands," 4 Dec. 2015 There were no sound and light shows, no teenage haute guttersnipes, no thumbing his nose at the rules. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Haute Expectations at Saint Laurent and Chanel," 8 Mar. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'guttersnipe.' 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 guttersnipe

circa 1869, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of guttersnipe was circa 1869

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Cite this Entry

“Guttersnipe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

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