a. The digestive tract or a portion thereof, especially the intestine or stomach.
b. The embryonic digestive tube, consisting of the foregut, the midgut, and the hindgut.
c. guts The bowels or entrails; viscera.
d. Informal A large belly or abdomen, especially one resulting from overeating or a sedentary lifestyle: “Aldo, old before his time, had grown a gut and developed a persistent phlegmy cough” (Michael Byers).
a. Innermost emotional or visceral response: She felt in her gut that he was guilty.
b. guts The inner or essential parts: “The best part of a good car … is its guts” (Leigh Allison Wilson).
3. guts Informal Courage; fortitude: It takes guts to be a rock climber.
a. Thin, tough cord made from the intestines of animals, usually sheep, used as strings for musical instruments or as surgical sutures.
b. Fibrous material taken from the silk gland of a silkworm before it spins a cocoon, used for fishing tackle.
5. A narrow passage or channel.
a. The central, lengthwise portion of a playing area.
b. The players occupying this space: The fullback ran up the gut of the defense.
7. Slang A gut course.
tr.v. gut·ted, gut·ting, guts
1. To remove the intestines or entrails of; eviscerate.
2. To extract essential or major parts of: gut a manuscript.
3. To destroy the interior of: Fire gutted the house.
4. To reduce or destroy the effectiveness of: A stipulation added at the last minute gutted the ordinance.
Arousing or involving basic emotions; visceral: “Conservationism is a gut issue in the West” (Saturday Review).
gut it out Slang
To show pluck and perseverance in the face of opposition or adversity.
[From Middle English guttes, entrails, from Old English guttas; see gheu- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.