noun (1)
go·​pher | \ ˈgō-fər How to pronounce gopher (audio) \

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 Nor does the nearby open field riddled with gopher holes. oregonlive, "Failing forestry: Oregon’s forestry department is on an unsustainable path," 20 Oct. 2019 The gophers and the weeds have moved in, and scores of grave markers are falling apart. Steve Rubenstein,, "Fence gets a paint job in SF’s Presidio as pet cemetery gets ready to reopen," 16 Oct. 2019 Vehicles are a large contributor to gopher tortoise deaths in the state, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee. Fox News, "Florida police 'detain' turtle for crossing road slow and steady, let off with warning and selfie," 23 June 2019 Under the law, using traps to catch gophers, house mice, rats, moles and voles would still be permitted. Los Angeles Times, "California becomes first state to ban fur trapping after Gov. Newsom signs law," 4 Sep. 2019 Before taking the job in February, Flores had spent his entire 15-year professional career with the Patriots, rising from scouting gopher to linebackers coach and, for one year, defensive play-caller. Ben Volin,, "Brian Flores facing tough tests early on as Dolphins coach," 15 Aug. 2019 But cover crops bring their own problems, like gophers. Belinda Luscombe, Time, "The Problem with $3 Cartons of Eggs, According to a Farmer," 10 June 2019 Yes, those prairie dogs — the cute, bewhiskered, gopher-like little buggers that pop out of their mounds and stand on their hind legs, twitching. Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, "Why Shoot Prairie Dogs?," 11 July 2019 Some experts suggest the rainy winters of the past few years have upped the number of fruit dropping from trees, as well as the population of gophers, snakes and rabbits, primary coyote food sources. Steve Scauzillo, The Mercury News, "Bold, brazen coyotes spread fear in Southern California as they seek fast, easy food," 30 June 2019

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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Statistics for gopher

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for gopher

The first known use of gopher was in 1791

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More Definitions for gopher


go·​pher | \ ˈgō-fər How to pronounce gopher (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on gopher

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gopher

Spanish Central: Translation of gopher

Nglish: Translation of gopher for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about gopher

Comments on gopher

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to engage in dissolute behavior

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