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Possibly an abbreviation of the word cattlegut. Alternatively, it may derive by folk etymology from kitgut or kitstring — the word kit, meaning fiddle, having at some point been confused with the word kit for a young cat.[1]


  • IPA(key): /ˈkætˌɡʌt/
  • (file)


catgut (countable and uncountable, plural catguts)

  1. (countable) A cord of great toughness made from the intestines of animals, especially of sheep, used for strings of musical instruments, raquets, sutures etc.
    • 1953, Virginia Woolf, “Tuesday, April 8th”, in Leonard Woolf, editor, A Writer's Diary, page 71:
      The thing about Proust is his combination of the utmost sensibility with the utmost tenacity. He searches out these butterfly shades to the last grain. He is as tough as catgut & as evanescent as a butterfly's bloom.
    • 1971, Will Grimsley; Julius David Heldman, Tennis: Its History, People and Events, Prentice-Hall, →ISBN, page 3:
      Eventually they carved small paddles to strike the ball and refined this implement with a mesh of catgut.
    • 2007 July 23, Joon Park; R. S. Lakes, Biomaterials: An Introduction, Springer Science & Business Media, →ISBN, page 292:
      The absorbable suture, catgut, is made of collagen derived from sheep intestinal submucosa. It is usually treated with a chromic salt to increase its strength and is crosslinked to retard resorption. Such treatment extends the life of catgut suture from 3–7 days up to 20–40 days.
  2. (uncountable) The material from which such cords are made.
  3. (uncountable) A sort of linen or canvas, with wide interstices.


Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Google Books: (1894) G. S. Davis, "Therapeutic Gazette" (2013-10-11)



catgut c

  1. (medicine) catgut


Declension of catgut 
Indefinite Definite
Nominative catgut catguten
Genitive catguts catgutens