gut·ter / ˈgətər/ • n. a shallow trough fixed beneath the edge of a roof for carrying off rainwater. ∎ a channel at the side of a street for carrying off rainwater. ∎ (the gutter) used to refer to a poor or squalid background or environment: only moneyed privilege had kept him out of the gutter. ∎ technical a groove or channel for flowing liquid. ∎ the blank space between facing pages of a book or between adjacent columns of type or stamps in a sheet. ∎ a channel on either side of a lane in a bowling alley.• v. 1. [intr.] (of a candle or flame) flicker and burn unsteadily: the candles had almost guttered out.2. [tr.] archaic channel or furrow with something such as streams or tears: my cheeks are guttered with tears. ∎ [intr.] (gutter down) stream down: the raindrops gutter down her visage.
Hence gutter vb. channel XIV; stream XVI; (of a candle) melt rapidly by being channelled on one side XVIII. gutter-snipe common snipe, also called mire snipe; gatherer of refuse, street urchin. XIX. f. gutter in dial. sense of ‘mud, filth’.