Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
1845, from Malay getah percha, literally "the gum of percha," the name of the tree; the form of the word influenced by Latin gutta "drop." As the name of the tree itself, from 1860.
gutta-percha gut·ta-per·cha (gŭt'ə-pûr'chə)
A rubbery substance from the latex of any of several tropical trees, used as a temporary filling material in dentistry and in the manufacture of orthopedic splints.
yellowish or brownish leathery material derived from the latex of certain trees in Malaysia, the South Pacific, and South America, especially Palaquium oblongifolia and, formerly, P. gutta. To obtain the latex, the tree may be felled and rings cut in the bark; in plantation cultivation the fresh leaves are gathered, chopped, and crushed. The mass is boiled in water and the gum removed and pressed into blocks