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    #1

    mind in the gutter

    Does a person who has a mind in the gutter think about sex obsessively? If so, why does it mean that?

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: mind in the gutter

    Quote Originally Posted by mmasny View Post
    Does a person who has a mind in the gutter think about sex obsessively? If so, why does it mean that?
    It doesn't necessarily mean that they obsess about sex, it simply means that at the point that the phrase is used, the person was making a probably innocent remark into a rather dirty one.

    If your mind is in the gutter, it means that you are thinking rude (yes, normally of some kind of sexual innuendo nature) thoughts.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: mind in the gutter

    Well, not necessarily "obsessively." But it might mean that the first meaning of a phrase that comes to mind is the one that has a sexual connotation.

    Take a recent post about a girl with a large dowry. She was well endowed. Someone with their mind in the gutter might first think of the meaning of "well endowed" that means she had large breasts.

    Someone whose mind is seriously in the gutter won't be able to hear even the most innocent phrase like "magic wand" without making a joke that makes the phrase mean "penis." (By the way, someone recently pointed out how funny passages of Harry Potter become when you change "wand" to "willy." You have to have your mind at least a little bit in the gutter to laugh at the idea. I did. )

    Sometimes people like that are very funny. Other times they are just immature and annoying.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #4

    Re: mind in the gutter

    Thank you for your responses! Any ideas about the etymology?

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: mind in the gutter

    Quote Originally Posted by mmasny View Post
    Thank you for your responses! Any ideas about the etymology?
    I have always just assumed that because the gutter is usually pretty dirty, and it's where all the rubbish collects, that someone's mind is deemed to be in a low, dirty place hence the gutter.

    In this context, that would be the gutter of the road, leading to the drains, not the gutter on the roof of a house which collects rainwater.

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    #6

    Re: mind in the gutter

    Thanks!

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    #7

    Re: mind in the gutter

    The missing link here is the connection between sex and dirtiness which is firmly entrenched in Anglo culture, perhaps to a larger extent than in some cultures. Perhaps in some cultures there is no tradition of sexual thoughts being dirty, and this expression would therefore seem odd.

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