from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A channel at the edge of a street or road for carrying off surface water.
  • noun A trough fixed under or along the eaves for draining rainwater from a roof.
  • noun A furrow or groove formed by running water.
  • noun A trough or channel for carrying something off, such as that on either side of a bowling alley or that almost level with the water in some swimming pools.
  • noun Printing The white space formed by the inner margins of two facing pages, as of a book.
  • noun A degraded and squalid class or state of human existence.
  • intransitive verb To form gutters or furrows in.
  • intransitive verb To provide with gutters.
  • intransitive verb To flow in channels or rivulets.
  • intransitive verb To melt away through the side of the hollow formed by a burning wick. Used of a candle.
  • intransitive verb To burn low and unsteadily; flicker.
  • adjective Vulgar, sordid, or unprincipled.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In turpentine-making, one of two thin bent strips of metal which are inserted in gashes cut into the face of a tree and serve to couduct resin into a cup.
  • To furrow, groove, or channel, as by the flow of a liquid.
  • To conduct off, as by a trough or gutter.
  • To provide with gutters: as, to gutter a house.
  • To become channeled by the flow of melted tallow or wax, as a burning candle.
  • To let fall drops, as of melted tallow from a candle.
  • To devour greedily.
  • noun A narrow channel at the eaves or on the roof of a building, at the sides of a road or a street, or elsewhere, for carrying off water or other fluid; a conduit; a trough.
  • noun A furrow; especially, a furrow made by the action of water.
  • noun A passageway; a secret passage.
  • noun plural Mud; mire; dirt.
  • noun In Australian gold-mining, the lower auriferous part of the channel of an old river of the Tertiary age, now often deeply covered by volcanic materials and detrital deposits.
  • noun In printing, one of a number of pieces of wood or metal, channeled in the center with a groove or gutter, used to separate the pages of type in a form. Also gutter-stick.
  • noun In entomology, any groove or elongate depression, especially when it serves as a receptacle for a part or an organ; specifically, a fold or deflexed and incurved space on the posterior wing of a lepidopterous insect, adjoining the inner edge, and embracing the abdomen from above downward when the wings are at rest.
  • noun In cabinet-work, etc., a slight depression.
  • noun One who guts fish in dressing them.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To become channeled, as a candle when the flame flares in the wind.
  • noun A channel at the eaves of a roof for conveying away the rain; an eaves channel; an eaves trough.
  • noun A small channel at the roadside or elsewhere, to lead off surface water.
  • noun Any narrow channel or groove.
  • noun (Bowling) Either of two sunken channels at either side of the bowling alley, leading directly to the sunken pit behind the pins. Balls not thrown accurately at the pins will drop into such a channel bypassing the pins, and resulting in a score of zero for that bowl.
  • noun (Arch.) an architectural member made by treating the outside face of the gutter in a decorative fashion, or by crowning it with ornaments, regularly spaced, like a diminutive battlement.
  • noun a carpenter's plane with a rounded bottom for planing out gutters.
  • noun [Slang] a neglected boy running at large; a street Arab.
  • noun (Printing) one of the pieces of furniture which separate pages in a form.
  • transitive verb To cut or form into small longitudinal hollows; to channel.
  • transitive verb rare To supply with a gutter or gutters.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A ditch along the side of a road.
  • noun A duct or channel beneath the eaves of a building to carry rain water; eavestrough.
  • noun A grooves down the sides of a bowling lane.
  • noun A large groove (commonly behind animals) in a barn used for the collection and removal of animal excrement.
  • noun A space between printed columns of text.
  • noun Something distasteful or morally questionable.
  • noun UK A drainage channel.
  • noun philately an unprinted space between rows of stamps.
  • noun The part of a street meant for vehicles.
  • adjective Suitable for the gutter; vulgar, disreputable.
  • verb of a small flame To flicker as if about to be extinguished.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English goter, guter, from Old French gotier, from gote, drop, from Latin gutta.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Anglo-Norman gotere, from Old French goutiere (French gouttière), ultimately from Latin gutta ("drop")



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  • In book printing, the inner margin of a book's leaves (nearest the spine). Sometimes called a joint.

    February 21, 2007

  • Philately too.

    September 23, 2008

  • Indeed--which makes me wonder why it isn't on my philately list.

    There. All fixed.

    September 23, 2008

  • I like this part from the Century: "In printing, one of a number of pieces of wood or metal, channeled in the center with a groove or gutter, used to separate the pages of type in a form. Also gutter-stick."

    September 18, 2017

  • I remember this term being used in the Computer To Plate printing industry referring to the area of paper which will not be used in the final folded book or magazine. also margins

    September 18, 2017

  • It certainly stands out--I guess I'd never thought about where it comes from before.

    September 18, 2017