Definition of gulch in English:



North American
  • A narrow and steep-sided ravine marking the course of a fast stream.

    • ‘The axis was revolving to show gorse gullies, rocky gulches and biscuit-coloured eroded clay crusts.’
    • ‘Whiling away an afternoon at the beach, a vacation spent exploring creeks and gulches, or even an hour spent climbing a tree, teaches a child about his or her place in the world.’
    • ‘The town of Deadwood is cradled in a narrow gulch between pine-covered bluffs in the Black Hills of South Dakota.’
    • ‘We walked on until we had a commanding view of the upper gulch and the crosses strung out in a long line.’
    • ‘Other locations are the dark forests, deep gulches, old mines, bunkers and medieval strongholds.’
    • ‘Painters settled along the Arroyo Seco, the picturesque gulch on the city's west side.’
    • ‘The day of the fire the thermometer reached a record ninety-seven degrees in Helena; it surely topped that in the narrow confines of the gulch about twenty-five miles to the north.’
    • ‘Alder Gulch, discovered in May 1863, rendered prodigious amounts of placer gold-arguably the most ever extracted from a single gulch.’
    • ‘The main drag is a gulch - the town's original name was Deadwood Gulch - that was much widened during an 1870s gold rush into a classic gunfighter main street lined with gambling saloons.’
    • ‘An impressive mill was built on the lower slope of the mountain near the foot of the gulch.’
    • ‘Hordes of ladybugs which commonly swarm along gulches of the Falls Trail in winter are not yet evident.’
    • ‘The irregular houses were like the broken exteriors of cliffs lining deep gulches and winding streams.’
    • ‘To be sure, there were times when lynch mobs operated in isolated mining camps, in out-of-the-way gulches, or on sparsely-settled ranchlands.’
    • ‘After a while, we crossed a dry gulch, Horse Creek, and turned off into a patch of Grasslands the Forest Service proposes to keep roadless.’
    • ‘Gold seekers, speculators, freighters, merchants, and stockmen flooded the valleys, gulches, and creeks near the Continental Divide.’
    • ‘Here was that infamous swath of dry terrain that encompasses both prairie flats and jagged gulches as it stretches through the westernmost reaches of Nebraska and the Dakotas.’
    • ‘Timber on the mountainsides here grows in vertical stripes on the flanks between gulches where avalanches scour everything but the most flexible willows and young trees.’
    • ‘Panning gold in the gulches, poaching deer and other game, rounding up wild horses and mules for the packing plant, growing vegetables, cutting firewood, and bootlegging whiskey-all were honorable occupations during such hard times.’
    • ‘And it's entirely possible somebody dropped a cigarette at the bottom of the gulch here.’
    gorge, abyss, canyon, ravine, gully, gulf, pass, defile, couloir, crevasse, cleft, rift, rent
    View synonyms


Mid 19th century: perhaps from dialect gulch to swallow.