Definition of catgut in English:



  • A material used for the strings of some musical instruments, made of the dried twisted intestines of sheep or horses (but not cats)

    • ‘The strings, of catgut or wire, are all of the same length but of different thicknesses, and are all tuned to the same note.’
    • ‘The only instruments used in performing these nine tracks are ostensibly ones that need to be struck in order to make sound, whether the sticks be wood or strung with catgut or even just triangular pieces of plastic.’
    • ‘When the trauma is greater use a sterile strand of catgut and loop it so it is caught in the adjacent loop.’
    • ‘Strings were made from catgut: animal lovers will be relieved to know that wire is used today.’
    • ‘To get a group of people to produce this sort of racket from elephant ivory, bent wood and catgut is a testament to what human beings can achieve by co-operating with each other.’
    • ‘She has complained that he ignored her warnings that she had a life threatening allergy to catgut when he performed a hysterectomy on her in 1997.’
    • ‘The endaural incision is closed with 510 plain catgut and the remaining canal is packed with BIPP impregnated gauze.’
    • ‘Women who consented to participate in the study were assigned randomly before labor to chromic catgut or fast-absorbing synthetic suture.’
    • ‘Easier, though, to quote JB Priestley: ‘To say that men paid their shillings to watch 22 hirelings kick a ball is merely to say that a violin is wood and catgut, that Hamlet is so much paper and ink.’’
    • ‘Earlier, patients had to buy all the essential items required for surgical operations such as gloves, catgut (surgical sutures), and even cleaning material like liquid iodine.’
    • ‘The practice is called hymenorraphy and, in some cultures, it is done using sheep's membrane, while others use catgut.’
    • ‘He left the surgery room and returned bringing with him the much-needed catgut to stitch the wound in the cat's side.’
    • ‘Only then can she appreciate Leopolda's definition of love as ‘brutalizing, a raw force, frail as blossoms, tough as catgut wire’.’


Late 16th century: the association with cat remains unexplained.