Gofer - gopher

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Gofer and gopher are two words that are sometimes confused. (You may alsop want to see Gofering - goffering - gophering for a rather different confusion.)

  • Gofer is a slang term that should not normally be used in academic English. It originated in the USA, apparently in the entertainment business, to mean a menial empl;oyee, one who can be told to go fer some coffee, or other errand. Consequently, it may be written go-fer.
Although gofer is not usual in academic English, it may be appropriate in some subjects, e.g. Film Studies
    • Gopher is the name of several species of animal whose common characteristics are: they are native to North America; they make burrows in the ground. The best-known of these is a rodent. (It is also a nickname for inhabitants of various States, etc; and for miners, and various activities in mines.) There is a verb 'to gopher', meaning 'to burrow', or to start a small, unofficial mine.
Because of the busy, apparently aimless, scurrying around of the rodent, it is clear why some imaginative writers spell the runner of errands as gopher.