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 The new property is also home to an estimated 2,000 gopher tortoises, whose burrows provide shelter for many other species., "ATLANTA — Conservation groups have purchased a swath of land in Georgia that they describe as one of the largest unprotected open space parcels along the southeast Atlantic Coast.," 9 Dec. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for gopher

Time Traveler

The first known use of gopher was in 1791

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Statistics for gopher

Last Updated

15 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Gopher.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

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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

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