noun (1)
go·​pher | \ˈgō-fər \

Definition of gopher 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a burrowing land tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) of the southern U.S. broadly : any of several related land tortoises

called also gopher tortoise

2a : any of a family (Geomyidae) of burrowing rodents of western North America, Central America, and the southern U.S. that are the size of a large rat and have large cheek pouches opening beside the mouth

called also pocket gopher

b : any of several small ground squirrels (genus Spermophilus) of the prairie region of North America


noun (2)

less common spelling of


: an employee whose duties include running errands : lackey

Illustration of gopher

Illustration of gopher

Noun (1)

gopher 2a

In the meaning defined above

Examples of gopher in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One gopher looks at the camera, and starts screaming hysterically. Connor Whittum, Billboard, "Ariana Grande's Epic 'God Is a Woman' Video, Decoded," 13 July 2018 He is said to have sent a dead gopher to a publisher and attacked an ABC executive, breaking his pelvis. Richard Sandomir,, "Harlan Ellison, pugnacious and prolific science fiction writer, dies at 84," 30 June 2018 The dusky gopher frog (Lithobates sevosus), found only in four locations in southern Mississippi, requires a specific habitat to survive. David S. Rauf, Scientific American, "Clean Break: Kennedy Supreme Court Exit Could Upend Environmental Safeguards," 3 July 2018 According to biographer Nat Segaloff, who wrote A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison, Ellison made more than a few enemies in the entertainment business and once sent a dead gopher to a publishing house to get them to return his calls. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Harlan Ellison Turned Star Trek Into Something More. Could It Happen Again?," 29 June 2018 In the stands, Bill Murray was looking for gophers beneath his seat. Paul Daugherty,, "Paul Daugherty: UC-XU play for it all. And the winner is ...," 25 Jan. 2018 Evidently, gophers consider coffee roots a delicacy. Nan Sterman,, "Branching out with new crops," 31 May 2018 Finally, the 67-year-old found his way into the clubhouse and out of the heat, like the gopher from Caddyshack sneaking back into his hole. Peter Dawson, star-telegram, "It's in the hole! Bill Murray wins over the crowd at Colonial once again | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 23 May 2018 After 32 years of restoration, the conservatory has restored healthy populations of wild turkey, bobwhite quail, Bachman’s sparrow, Florida pine snake and the gopher tortoise, as well as the elusive Florida firefly. Amy Aumick,, "Explore Florida's Liberty County: Gorgeous views of the Apalachicola River," 7 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gopher.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gopher

Noun (1)

1791, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gopher

Noun (1)

origin unknown

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The first known use of gopher was in 1791

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More Definitions for gopher


go·​pher | \ˈgō-fər \

Kids Definition of gopher

1 : a burrowing animal that is about the size of a large rat and has a large fur-lined pouch on the outside of each cheek

2 : a striped ground squirrel of North American prairies

3 : a burrowing land tortoise of the southern United States

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Comments on gopher

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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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