Definition of gutta-percha in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌɡədəˈpərCHə/


A hard, tough thermoplastic substance that is the coagulated latex of certain Malaysian trees. It consists chiefly of a hydrocarbon isomeric with rubber and is now used chiefly in dentistry and for electrical insulation.
  • This substance is obtained from trees of the genus Palaquium, family Sapotaceae, in particular P. gutta.
Example sentences
  • We also have gutta-percha, sago, rattan, and ketchup.
  • We have Vernetta Lopez and all the other Eurasians on telly and radio, and we have the de Souzas and the D'Almeidas, who made their fortune harvesting gutta-percha which was used to insulate telegraph wires.
  • Undaunted by the loss of hundreds of miles of wire wrapped in gutta-percha, canvas and tar, his company tried for a fourth time in 1866, constructing a further 1800 miles of cable.


Mid 19th century: from Malay getah perca, from getah 'gum' + perca 'strips of cloth' (which it resembles), altered by association with obsolete gutta 'gum', from Latin gutta 'a drop'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: gut·ta-per·cha

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