Dictionary.com

gopher

1
[ goh-fer ]
/ ˈgoʊ fər /
Save This Word!

noun

verb (used without object)

Mining.
  1. to mine unsystematically.
  2. to enlarge a hole, as in loose soil, with successively larger blasts.

QUIZZES

THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?

Did you ever collect all those state quarters? Put them to good use on this quiz about curious state monikers and the facts around them.
Question 1 of 8
Mississippi’s nickname comes from the magnificent trees that grow there. What is it?

Origin of gopher

1
First recorded in 1785–95; earlier megopher, magopher “gopher tortoise”; of obscure origin; spelling copies gopher wood

Definition for gopher (2 of 2)

gopher2
[ goh-fer ]
/ ˈgoʊ fər /

noun Slang.

Origin of gopher

2
1925–30; respelling of gofer by association with gopher1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does gopher mean?

A gopher is a small rodent native to North and Central America that burrows tunnels and has large cheek pouches, as in I saw a gopher digging a burrow by the road.

The term gopher is commonly used to refer to pocket gophers, burrowing rodents of the Geomyidae family. Gophers are well-known for their ability to dig underground burrows, where they spend most of their time. Gophers are solitary herbivores, feeding on plant roots. Because their digging can damage property and their feeding can damage gardens, gophers are often considered pests.

Gophers are often associated with the state of Minnesota and the term is often used as a nickname for people who live there.

Less commonly, gopher can also refer to several species of ground squirrels, gopher tortoises, or gopher snakes.

Example: We are trying to keep the gophers from eating our flower garden.

Where does gopher come from?

The first records of gopher come from around 1785. It is a shortening of megopher, which refers to the gopher tortoise.

Gophers are commonly found in the United States and are most likely to be encountered by gardeners or farmers who will not be thrilled to see them.

In popular culture, the most famous gopher is most likely the character Gopher from Disney’s Winnie-the-Pooh franchise. Gopher is a Disney creation. He was not present in the books written by A. A. Milne, which Disney licensed for its own stories.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to gopher?

  • gophers (plural noun)

What are some synonyms for gopher?

What are some words that share a root or word element with gopher

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

How is gopher used in real life?

Gophers are a common animal that are well known for their digging abilities.

Try using gopher!

True or False?

Gophers are a type of rodent that digs underground burrows.

Example sentences from the Web for gopher

British Dictionary definitions for gopher

gopher
/ (ˈɡəʊfə) /

noun

Also called: pocket gopher any burrowing rodent of the family Geomyidae, of North and Central America, having a thickset body, short legs, and cheek pouches
another name for ground squirrel
any burrowing tortoise of the genus Gopherus, of SE North America
gopher snake another name for bull snake

Word Origin for gopher

C19: shortened from earlier megopher or magopher, of obscure origin
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
Tired of Typos? Get Help Now!