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

  • n. A channel at the edge of a street or road for carrying off surface water.
  • n. A trough fixed under or along the eaves for draining rainwater from a roof. Also called regionally eaves spout, eaves trough, rainspout, spouting.
  • n. A furrow or groove formed by running water.
  • n. A trough or channel for carrying something off, such as that on either side of a bowling alley.
  • n. Printing The white space formed by the inner margins of two facing pages, as of a book.
  • n. A degraded and squalid class or state of human existence.
  • transitive v. To form gutters or furrows in.
  • transitive v. To provide with gutters.
  • intransitive v. To flow in channels or rivulets.
  • intransitive v. To melt away through the side of the hollow formed by a burning wick. Used of a candle.
  • intransitive v. To burn low and unsteadily; flicker.
  • adj. Befitting the lowest class of human life; vulgar, sordid, or unprincipled: gutter language; the gutter press.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A channel at the eaves of a roof for conveying away the rain; an eaves channel; an eaves trough.
  • n. A small channel at the roadside or elsewhere, to lead off surface water.
  • n. Any narrow channel or groove.
  • n. 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.
  • intransitive v. To become channeled, as a candle when the flame flares in the wind.
  • transitive v. To cut or form into small longitudinal hollows; to channel.
  • transitive v. To supply with a gutter or gutters.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A furrow; especially, a furrow made by the action of water.
  • n. A passageway; a secret passage.
  • n. plural Mud; mire; dirt.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. In cabinet-work, etc., a slight depression.
  • n. One who guts fish in dressing them.
  • n. 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.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. burn unsteadily, feebly, or low; flicker
  • v. flow in small streams
  • n. a worker who guts things (fish or buildings or cars etc.)
  • v. wear or cut gutters into
  • v. provide with gutters
  • n. a tool for gutting fish
  • n. a channel along the eaves or on the roof; collects and carries away rainwater
  • n. misfortune resulting in lost effort or money


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

    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

  • 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

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

    There. All fixed.

    September 23, 2008

  • Philately too.

    September 23, 2008

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

    February 21, 2007