goober

[ goo-ber ]
/ ˈgu bər /

noun South Midland and Southern U.S.

the peanut.

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Also called goober pea .

Origin of goober

First recorded in 1825–35; of Bantu origin; compare Kongo, Kimbundu nguba “peanut”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

VOCAB BUILDER

What does goober mean?

Goober is an informal name for a peanut.

The peanut is sometimes also called the goober pea. Goober is also used as a slang term for an unsophisticated, goofy person, especially one from a rural area, somewhat similar to the term bumpkin.

Goober is primarily used in the Southern and Midland United States.

Example: I can’t wait to get some boiled goobers at a roadside stand when I go back home to Georgia.

Where does goober come from?

The first records of the word goober in English come from the 1800s. It might sound like a silly slang word, but it’s actually of African origin, based on the word nguba found in many African languages, like Kongo and Kimbundu.

The peanut itself (which is not a nut but a legume) is probably native to South America, but it was eventually brought to Africa by trade, where it was grown as food. Both the peanut and the African word for it were introduced to North America by African people who were enslaved and forced to work on plantations there. As an informal word for a peanut, goober is mostly used in the region of the U.S. where the enslaved African people started to grow them: the Southern and Midland states. You’re most likely to find goober pie (or someone who even knows what that is) in the South.

As a slang word meaning something like “goofball” or “bumpkin,” goober may have been popularized by a TV character named Goober on The Andy Griffith Show who was the epitome of a goober: simple and naive but cheery and good-natured. Calling someone a goober can be an insult, but it’s more likely to be used fondly and endearingly.

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What are some synonyms for goober?

What are some words that often get used in discussing goober?

How is goober used in real life?

Goober as an informal word for a peanut is primarily used by those who live in the American South. As a slang term for a goofy person it’s more widespread outside that region.

 

 

Try using goober!

Is goober used correctly in the following sentence?

Milly can be kind of a goober sometimes, but she’s fun to be around.

Example sentences from the Web for goober

British Dictionary definitions for goober

goober

goober pea

/ (ˈɡuːbə) /

noun

another name for peanut

Word Origin for goober

C19: of African (Angolan) origin; related to Kongo nguba
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012