gopher

gopher

1 [goh-fer]
noun
1.
any of several ground squirrels of the genus Citellus, of the prairie regions of North America.
5.
(initial capital letter) a native or inhabitant of Minnesota (used as a nickname).
6.
(initial capital letter) Computers.
a.
a protocol for a menu-based system of accessing documents on the Internet.
b.
any program that implements this protocol.
verb (used without object)
7.
Mining.
a.
to mine unsystematically.
b.
to enlarge a hole, as in loose soil, with successively larger blasts.

Origin:
1785–95; earlier megopher, magopher gopher tortoise; of obscure origin; spelling copies gopher wood

Dictionary.com Unabridged

gopher

2 [goh-fer]
noun Slang.

Origin:
1925–30; respelling of gofer by association with gopher1

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
gopher (ˈɡəʊfə)
 
n
1.  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
2.  another name for ground squirrel
3.  any burrowing tortoise of the genus Gopherus, of SE North America
4.  gopher snake another name for bull snake
 
[C19: shortened from earlier megopher or magopher, of obscure origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

gopher
1812, Amer.Eng., perhaps an Anglicization of Louisiana Fr. gaufre "honeycomb, waffle," said to have been used by Fr. settlers of small mammals on analogy of the structure of their burrows, from O.Fr. gaufre, of Frank. origin. The rodent was the nickname of people from Arkansas (1845) and later Minnesota
(1872). The gopherwood tree of the Bible (used by Noah to make the ark, Gen. vi:14) is unrelated; it is from Heb. gofer, perhaps meaning the cypress.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

gopher definition

[ˈgofɚ]
and gofer
  1. n.
    someone who goes for things and brings them back. (From go for.) : You got a gopher who can go get some coffee?
  2. n.
    a dupe; a pawn; an underling. : The guy's just a gofer. He has no say in anything.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

gopher definition

networking, protocol
A distributed document retrieval system which started as a Campus Wide Information System at the University of Minnesota, and which was popular in the early 1990s.
Gopher is defined in RFC 1436. The protocol is like a primitive form of HTTP (which came later). Gopher lacks the MIME features of HTTP, but expressed the equivalent of a document's MIME type with a one-character code for the "Gopher object type". At time of writing (2001), all Web browers should be able to access gopher servers, although few gopher servers exist anymore.
Tim Berners-Lee, in his book "Weaving The Web" (pp.72-73), related his opinion that it was not so much the protocol limitations of gopher that made people abandon it in favor of HTTP/HTML, but instead the legal missteps on the part of the university where it was developed:
"It was just about this time, spring 1993, that the University of Minnesota decided that it would ask for a license fee from certain classes of users who wanted to use gopher. Since the gopher software being picked up so widely, the university was going to charge an annual fee. The browser, and the act of browsing, would be free, and the server software would remain free to nonprofit and educational institutions. But any other users, notably companies, would have to pay to use gopher server software.
"This was an act of treason in the academic community and the Internet community. Even if the university never charged anyone a dime, the fact that the school had announced it was reserving the right to charge people for the use of the gopher protocols meant it had crossed the line. To use the technology was too risky. Industry dropped gopher like a hot potato."
(2001-03-31)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Gopher definition


a tree from the wood of which Noah was directed to build the ark (Gen. 6:14). It is mentioned only there. The LXX. render this word by "squared beams," and the Vulgate by "planed wood." Other versions have rendered it "pine" and "cedar;" but the weight of authority is in favour of understanding by it the cypress tree, which grows abundantly in Chaldea and Armenia.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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