Definition of gutta-percha
- a hard tough thermoplastic substance which 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
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'