1. a long narrow valley with steep sides
2. a long narrow hole in rock or earth, usually made by water flowing along it
3. in cricket, a particular position on the field, or the person who is placed in this position
Origin and usage
The noun gully originally meant ‘gullet’ or throat and came from the French ‘goulet’. It was first used with meanings one and two above in the 17th century while the cricketing sense dates from the late 19th century.
Cricket is rich in strange and obscure terms, many of them relating to fielding positions. Gully is a position between point and the slips, slightly behind and to the right of a right-handed batsman. It is said to have obtained its name from the perceived similarity between the narrow gap between it and the other nearby fielding positions and a physical gully in the ground caused by flowing water. A gully is also an artificial channel for something to be taken away, and in some varieties of English, including Indian English, an alley or narrow street. As with other fielding terms, gully refers both to the position and to the person occupying it.
“Deep, steep-sided gullies cut the plateau into fantastic relief.”
“In India, many kids play an informal game called gully cricket that can be played in any street or field.”
“The ball ballooned high in the air and was well caught at gully by Kallis.”
crevice, channel, fissure, rift