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 After a 30-minute session of small-caliber gopher abuse, Dave handed me three-300 cartridges, throw his pack down, and put on earmuffs. Susan Casey, Field & Stream, "F&S Classics: An Improbable Elk Hunt," 6 Dec. 2020 But, ah, among the living: Crickets at noon and humans hooting with an owl, looking for a gopher or at the light around the Moon: Pink crust of flares like fire mountains, like sleep to rub from the Cyclops’s eye before his hot day at the forge. Christopher Cokinos, Scientific American, "Poem: We Need the Sky," 1 Mar. 2020 In the dusky-gopher-frog case, the federal government acknowledged the designation could decrease the value of the Poitevents’ land by up to $34 million. Tate Watkins, National Review, "The Trump Administration Takes a Step toward Better Protecting Endangered Species," 14 Aug. 2020 The coyotes will instead hunt prey such as gophers, voles, rabbits, squirrels and other small animals. Tom Stienstra,, "Wildlife adapted as people stayed at home. But what happens when parks reopen and traffic returns?," 16 May 2020 All those little dips and bumps, whether from mole or gopher or kid with a trowel trying to dig to China, make a lawn mowed at 2-inches a tapestry of brown. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "You're cutting the grass wrong. 3 steps to get it right from our garden columnist," 22 May 2020 They have been documented using gopher tortoise burrows and eating tortoise eggs and the young. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "Georgia officials trying to stop large, invasive lizard that eats 'anything they want'," 13 May 2020 And buddy, the gopher over there already dug all the holes. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, "There's a Big Ten mascot brawl: Here's who'd be left standing," 29 Mar. 2020 The black and white tegus have been documented using gopher tortoise burrows and eating tortoise and alligator eggs, as well as the tortoise young. NBC News, "Invasive South American lizard sighted in Georgia for 3rd year, conservation group says," 13 May 2020

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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Cite this Entry

“Gopher.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on gopher

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

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