Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various short-tailed, burrowing rodents of the family Geomyidae of North America, having fur-lined external cheek pouches.
  • noun Any of various ground squirrels of North American prairies.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In mining, to begin or carry on mining operations at haphazard, or on a small scale; mine without any reference to the possibility of future permanent development. Such mine-openings are frequently called gopher-holes and coyote-holes.
  • noun One of the pouched rats or pocket-gophers, sundry species of the rodent family Geomyidœ and genera Geomys and Thomomys. See these words, and cut under Geomyidæ.
  • noun One of the spermophiles, burrowing squirrels, or ground-squirrels of the family Sciuridœ, subfamily Spermophilinœ, and genera Cynomys, Spermophilus, and Tamias.
  • noun The Testudo (or Xerobates) carolina, a tortoise from 12 to 15 inches long, of gregarious nocturnal and fossorial habits, abundant in the southern Atlantic States.
  • noun A snake, Spilote scouperi. Also called gopher snake.
  • noun In some parts of the southern United States, a plow.
  • noun A kind of waffle. See gofer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) One of several North American burrowing rodents of the genera Geomys and Thomomys, of the family Geomyidæ; -- called also pocket gopher and pouched rat. See pocket gopher, and tucan.
  • noun One of several western American species of the genus Spermophilus, of the family Sciuridæ; as, the gray gopher (Spermophilus Franklini) and the striped gopher (S. tridecemlineatus); -- called also striped prairie squirrel, leopard marmot, and leopard spermophile. See Spermophile.
  • noun A large land tortoise (Testudo Carilina) of the Southern United States, which makes extensive burrows.
  • noun A large burrowing snake (Spilotes Couperi) of the Southern United States.
  • noun (Mining) an irregular prospecting drift, following or seeking the ore without regard to regular grade or section.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A small burrowing rodent, especially in the family Geomyidae
  • noun The gopher tortoise
  • noun Alternative spelling of gofer.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun burrowing edible land tortoise of southeastern North America
  • noun burrowing rodent of the family Geomyidae having large external cheek pouches; of Central America and southwestern North America
  • noun any of various terrestrial burrowing rodents of Old and New Worlds; often destroy crops
  • noun a native or resident of Minnesota
  • noun a zealously energetic person (especially a salesman)

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Probably short for earlier megopher, gopher tortoise, probably of Muskogean origin; akin to Choctaw kofussa, a hollow, an excavation.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Perhaps from French gaufre, based on the analogy of holes in the ground to the indentations in a waffle.

Examples

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