As for me, I consider it a renovation if you are working within the original walls of the house. New construction is just that - all new.
If you are looking at renovated homes keep in mind that there have been a lot of renovations done on foreclosed homes that are then flipped. Sometimes the construction techniques and materials used are not the best, so I suggest that you use a good home inspector before going to contract on one of these.
It similar to you stating, "This is a awesome pizza!"
It only means YOU believe it to be awesome!
In the end, you know you need to lay eyes on the house and take a really close look to determine if 'gut renovated' means new skin or if gut renovated means the only thing remaining of the original house is the entry closet.
You should NEVER rely on expectation for terms that are not industry defined.
Trust and verify, and verify again.
Best of success.