gopher

1 of 2

noun (1)

go·​pher ˈgō-fər How to pronounce gopher (audio)
1
: a burrowing land tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) of the southern U.S.
broadly : any of several related land tortoises

called also gopher tortoise

2
a
: 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
3

Illustration of gopher

Illustration of gopher
  • gopher 2a

gopher

2 of 2

noun (2)

go·​pher

less common spelling of gofer

informal
: an employee whose duties include running errands : lackey

Examples of gopher in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The holes also are too small for gophers, moles and ground squirrels. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, 29 Jan. 2024 The snakes — which are typically 3 to 5 feet long — eat mice, rats, rabbits, gophers, birds, lizards and other small animals, according to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. CBS News, 15 Sep. 2023 Shooting an elk with one, however, is about like shooting a gopher with a .30/06. Joseph Von Benedikt, Field & Stream, 3 Aug. 2023 The frozen soil the nematode was embedded in came from an ancient gopher hole, excavated from about 130 feet below the surface. Carolyn Y. Johnson, Anchorage Daily News, 27 July 2023 Beal had once built a bomb to eliminate a neighborhood gopher, the prosecutor said. Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times, 20 July 2023 There are a few culprits that could be doing this – gophers, voles or mice. oregonlive, 24 June 2023 Line the bottoms with hardware cloth (not chicken wire) to exclude hungry gophers. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Apr. 2023 For the number of features included in the purchase — an oversized carrying case, the sand bag, towel hooks, plus a gopher tool and shovel to dig into the sand — the entire package is surprisingly lightweight at just 9 pounds. Sophie Dodd, Travel + Leisure, 15 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gopher.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

origin unknown

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1791, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of gopher was in 1791

Dictionary Entries Near gopher

Cite this Entry

“Gopher.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gopher. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

gopher

noun
go·​pher
ˈgō-fər
1
: a burrowing land tortoise of the southern U.S.
2
a
: any of several burrowing American rodents with large cheek pouches

called also pocket gopher

b
: a small striped ground squirrel of the prairie region of the U.S.

More from Merriam-Webster on gopher

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